Just hours after a 5.9 magnitude quake hit Washington D.C., San Francisco
traffic guy Sal Castaneda tweeted, "Hey east coasters: welcome to our world and what we live with everyday in California. Stay Safe." Hey, Californians: Shut up and let us wallow in our abject terror.
Californians can't get enough of snickering at how quaintly hysterical we East Coasters became after our earthquake today. A report from a waiting room in Santa Barbara, via Twitter: "CNN is on going on and on about the east coast earthquake. People here are laughing." In a misguided attempt to be sympathetic, LA Weekly wrote, "Even by L.A. terms 5.9 is a rocker." Even by L.A. terms—because, you know, Southern California invented earthquakes.
As bad as the cross-continental sniping is, West Coast snobbery has been even stronger among transplants here on the East Coast. You couldn't turn on the TV, load up Twitter, or run onto the sidewalk to weep in terror without someone cheerfully telling you they were from California, and, yes, that was definitely a Real Earthquake. As if all Californians have been tasked by the U.S. Geological Survey to go out and certify earthquakes throughout the land. Even in the video of the DSK press conference being interrupted by the quake, you can hear Manhattan DA Cy Vance stammering, "It's OK, I've been through earthquakes in Seattle." (Seattle is in California, right? It's somewhere over there.)
Listen, we know the average Californian was born amid a thundering 7.5 magnitude quake and popped out directly into a mudslide. We've all read tales of how the bright pioneers of San Francisco bathe their young in tsunamis and kill mountain lions for sport (and yet would shrivel and die if the temperature fell below 65.)
But can we wimpy East Coasters just have our moment of absolutely shitting ourselves in fear as our non-earthquake-proofed buildings wobble and creak around us? Can we crawl around on our carpets to survey the paltry damage—look, a book fell off a shelf! That could have given someone a serious goose-egg!—without some Californian standing smugly in the doorframe like they learned in grade school, chewing on a PowerBar from the earthquake preparedness kit they carry around in a Lakers fanny pack at all times?
We deserve our fear, California. Because of 9/11! This earthquake could have been another 9/11, for all we knew. Yeah, didn't think you had anything to say to that.
[Photo of New Yorkers evacuated after the earthquake via Getty. Photo of a damaged grocery store in Virginia via AP]