Dan Post's Blog

Tsunami syndrome

Open Google Maps and click ‘Get Directions’. Enter “USA” as your point A and “Japan” as your point B. Now scroll down to the directions at #31. Last Monday, when my girlfriend showed me this, it was funny. By Friday it was no longer funny.

The other coincidence, for me anyways, was that I had been reading a story by Raymond Carver called "So Much Water So Close to Home" the night before my mom called at 4 a.m. to warn me about a tsunami that she said was headed for Vancouver. In that story a man and his buddies find a dead girl floating in a river. Her flesh is pale and bloated.

At 4 a.m. on Friday morning, I stood in my underwear, looking off my balcony towards English Bay and the Pacific Ocean. I watched for tsunami signs; a dark ripple in the water maybe. Mom said “You know what the number one sign is, don’t you? The number one sign is the beach goes out. It goes out and then it comes back in, bigger.” I strained my eyes to see if I could see signs of the beach going out, but it was too dark.

From what I could tell, everything was still normal; the lights on the tanker ships were still out there. I calmed mom down and told her that according to the TV, I was going to be alright, then I promised her I would monitor the situation. I said “I love you” and hung up. By then, my girlfriend had woken up and come into the living room. I told her the situation and then the two of us stood and looked out the window at the dark ocean. If a wave was coming, we’d never see it. Together we flicked through a few news channels and saw the devastation, the destruction of Japan. I put my arm around her shoulder and she said ‘the world is coming to an end’. After a while we went back to bed. We both lay awake in the dark for some time. I thought about the girl from the Carver story and how many of those would be around Japan.

(See also: The Coincidence Problem by Stephen Osborne)



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