the shakes

One of the weirdest things about my move to California is that it’s actually changed my dreams. Lately I’ve been having the most bizarrely realistic dreams about earthquakes – almost as if I’m having one of those dreams where I feel like I’m falling and actually wake up, but instead the world is shaking under my feet and I wake up feeling like I’m trembling. We haven’t had any real earthquakes – at least not strong enough to feel – but a coworker of mine told me that the easiest way to tell if there’s been a tremor is if the frames get crooked. I’ve noticed my gallery wall is off-kilter a couple times, and am choosing to attribute that to tremors (rather than to Dave’s/my tendency to slam our bedroom doors!).

The newest one, though, is about the hills. I’ve driven a fair amount in San Francisco over the past few weeks, and some of the hills are so steep that, at the bottom, all I can do is look up incredulously, laugh, and hope to God my Civic doesn’t crap out halfway up. The visual of houses going straight as we all tilt up is a complete mind-bender, one I don’t know that I’ll ever grow accustomed to.

For the last several nights, I've dreamed I was driving us (not sure who, but there are others in the car, of course) up one such hill, so tall and so unbroken by cross-streets that the top wasn’t visible from the bottom. We were going up and tilting at a more and more dramatic angle, and all of a sudden it was like the angle had gotten too steep for the car to handle. In the dream, we flipped straight backward and started just free-falling back down the hill, as if the earth itself had fallen away from us. I woke up actually shouting in panic last night and had to get out of bed for a solid twenty minutes in the middle of the night to calm myself down.

It’d be nice to be able to dream about, I don’t know, wineries and fresh-squeezed orange juice or something. I guess my insane subconscious has to remind me it’s not all sunshine and 75 degrees here, or something.

Ending on a funny note…

A few weeks ago when Jonathan was in town, we were discussing earthquakes on the way up to Napa with Tyler. Jonny was curious, so I explained it the way the aforementioned coworker had – that the regular quakes are seldom more than a 3 on the Richter scale, and that it takes about a 5 before people really feel it. From there, it exponentially increases – a 7 will “really rock things,” as she put it.

Jonathan, being Jonathan, immediately goes, “IT’S LIKE A DICK. You don’t feel 3 inches, but you notice it at 5 and a 7 will rock your world!” Tyler chimed in with the absolute mot juste: “It’s like the Dickter Scale!” I died laughing, and every time I think about that little exchange, nightmares about hills and quakes seem a lot less traumatic after all.