Two years ago when I went to Washington, D.C. with my parents, I experienced my first earthquake. I was sitting on the National Mall about to stuff my face with a questionable hot dog when I felt the ground shake and saw the glass walls of the National Air & Space Museum wobbling. It was for five minutes…in Internet time, and probably two seconds in real time. My mom, an experienced human of natural occurrences, proceeded to tease me the whole day for seeing my face turn extremely white when the ground shook. The “earthquake” was 5.8 on the Richter Scale and my precious moment of experiencing tectonic plates shifting was a solid 10.
Growing up in New York City, I have never experienced any natural disasters like the ones that are going on right now around the world. Mud slides, earthquakes, and typhoons have never come near Brooklyn as hard as they are in California or the Midwest. I’ve never seen the sky form a circular cloud (AKA a tornado) or feel the earth shake so badly that I had to hide in my bathtub (as advised by my 5th grade teacher). New York City is pretty lucky that way…and unlucky.
In a study by the engineers of Trulia (that real estate website you’re on looking for the perfect apartment), the safest region to live in is upstate New York and Ohio. No potential earthquake, hurricane, or tornado risks. Not even Hurricane Sandy which messed up Lower Manhattan could ever touch those places. Maybe that’s why every single Lifetime movie takes place in a sketchy suburban neighborhood in upstate New York. There’s no other natural way to die there. You never hear anything on the news about Syracuse or Akron, so Mother Nature never really allows them to have any airtime.
From what I’ve experienced, the greatest natural disaster that native New Yorkers fear is gentrification. While those fake-glassesed, jean-jacket-wearing, coffee lovers on their MacBooks fear that they will never get published or pay back their parents for last month’s rent. Of course there are they stereotypical New York-natural disasters like getting splashed by a yellow taxi on a rainy day. Then there’s the moment you realize that you walked five blocks only to find out that the L train is “under construction.” Poor, New Yorkers. You don’t get natural disasters, but you do get overpriced studios.
So watch your back, New York. Mother Nature is just waiting for the day when she hears you complain about your “problems” just enough so that she hits you hard with another snowstorm. While we watch these natural disasters unfold around the world, it’s worth it to just appreciate that it’s not happening in New York. You’re going to have to start a new small talk conversation besides, “How do you like this weather?”