If you grow up in California and in particular in Southern California there is a boogie man that is always there, the San Andreas Fault. From the time you are very small when people talk about earthquakes they are talking about the San Andreas and the “what ifs”. It doesn’t seem to matter that none of the damaging earthquakes that have hit Southern Cal in my life time are the fault of the San Andreas Fault. It is the one they talk about.
It is a bad boy, it has caused the 1906 San Francisco quake and the 1989 Loma Prieta but it hasn’t rocked the boat down here. Most of the time it’s faults like the Whittier Fault or the previously unknown Northridge fault that have caused big quakes but it really doesn’t matter the boogie man is the San Andreas.
So imagine how delighted I was when I went to work at Teresita smack on the San Andreas. It was literally right out the door of my Arts and Crafts building and straight down into several hundred precarious feet. I had nightmares those 2 summers about being out in A&C with the kids and having the building fall in. And to make it even more fun the staff shower hung out over the fault. I was very glad to notice this weekend that particular tiny building was no longer there. Especially since I had had a really bad adventure in that tiny building. It was just a shower stall and a tiny changing area I doubt if it was more than 5 ft wide and 10 ft long, maybe not even that big but it had hot water which was a big luxury in any camp.
One day during mass which I was usually excused from as a non-Catholic I decided it was a prime time to get some shower privacy. I gathered all my things and trotted across the one lane camp road to luxuriate briefly, (there is always a water shortage in CA) in the hot water and quiet of the shower. I got undressed and enjoyed my shower and had turned off the water when I heard a noise and saw the other camp boogie man, a rattlesnake. So I’m stark naked and everyone is in the Chapel down the hill and over a ways. This is not a good feeling. I finally got up the nerve to grab a towel from the peg it was on and retreated back into the shower portion. I was very glad when after several minutes of terror the camp maintenance man and his helper headed to where the tools were kept across the road.
By this time I had given up all pretense to modesty and just wanted that snake away from my bare self. I’m not afraid of snakes at all unless I am starkers in the shower. I can only wonder if because I had been the author of many a snakes demise that this was my Karma coming to haunt me in the worst kind of way. You think about these things when you are trapped stark naked with a rattlesnake. And you wonder how the hell to protect your toes.
But the Maintenance guys got shovels and took care of the invader and I retrieved my clothes and beat it back to A&C. I don’t think I ever took a shower there again. It was a bad episode of Fear Factor.
So this weekend it was kind of fun to finally take pictures of the boogie man and see that it wasn’t so scary anymore. It will still wreck havoc when it finally goes and make a royal mess of the landscape and of human creation but at least I didn’t have any nightmares about falling into it and we were in almost the last cabin before it drops straight down.