Update: March 17

I finally worked up the courage to leave the house and go to the gym, which was functioning normally, albeit with most of the lights turned off. One of the trainers said he was in the pool when the quake struck. It was just after a kids’ swimming class had ended and they were in the showers. He said, “That guy over there is the real hero. He ran over and shielded their bodies with his own.” I had to ask, “What did you do?” He said, “I stood there waving my arms around and looking stupid.” Ah, well. At least he had the courage to admit it.

People keep asking if we are safe. (Thanks, everyone.) We are, in the here and now sense. Our house wasn’t damaged; our utilities are all working; we have enough food. In the larger sense, we don’t know, and I almost wish people would stop asking. I’m sure that the Nuclear Powers That Be are doing absolutely everything they can to avoid further disaster. Hiroshi made the very good point that if Tokyo were to get nuked, the entire government and economic infrastructure would break down. But let’s not think about that.

I can tell you that I’m one of the luckiest people I know. My flight left Christchurch half an hour before last month’s quake. (People who know me know about my magical superpowers to control the workings of the universe, but they also know I would never use them to cause something like that. It might be wise, though, not to piss me off.) What amazes me is how radically your perspective can change and how quickly. Just a few days ago, we were with friends planning Hiroshi’s birthday party, with a menu of Mexican treats and sushi. That’s not going to happen. Yesterday, he managed to find a store that had milk and came home very pleased with himself. I celebrated with a Pop-Tart. (Thanks again, Scratch.)

All jokes aside, the outpouring of concern and sympathy is much appreciated. (Thanks, Sony.) We take it one day at a time.

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