Being glued to a computer screen with my mind pacing ahead of my fingers as I code various formations of data from a database is what I do most of the day. And I really, really love it. I get annoyed when inconsequential chatter, or worse, abysmally vapid popular music breaks into my consciousness at such times. But today at lunch time I was not annoyed. I was scared.
A 5.5 magnitude earthquake hit large parts of the country at that time, and I was on my feet almost immediately, turning to see the ceiling boards on the second floor shaking as if someone was trying to break through them while the office floor rolled under my boots.
The safety marshal yapped at me to evacuate the building and I didn’t argue – although most of my colleagues in the next department (accounting, interestingly enough) were all standing up in their cubicles, looking at each other with expressions of bovine uncertainty.
In the end, only a handful of us obeyed protocol and gathered outside in the parking lot. That I was one of them, despite my hostility towards authoritarianism, speaks volumes about my fear at the time.
Oh yes, I was terrified for a few moments – the animal, earth connected component of myself was pretty damned scared of disappearing into a pile of smoking rubble. The birds had all flown away, I remember thinking, and only when a bedraggled, somewhat stoned looking pigeon re-settled on the reception awning did I realise that it was probably safe to go back inside.
All over the country people spoke of their cats diving under beds. Dogs.. not so much. My two brave Pitbulls probably felt that whatever was happening, it was all under the humans’ control, and as Warren didn’t panic, neither did they.
And to think I’d started the day with one of those bell-clear thoughts which make so much damned sense at the time, transforming your vision into a panorama of joy, but fading to mundane significance a couple of hours later. It was not an original thought, I’m sure, but it held all the gold-limned glory of an absolute answer – or at least part of one.
The thought was this:
“What if this is, in fact, a shared dream? What if the moment of death is also the moment of awakening?”