The Earthquake Trilogy

Part III

Here's Courtney's other response.

Mr. Visco
Science Department
Sachem High School South
51 School St.
Lake Ronkonkoma, NY 11779

December 17, 1998

Dear Erica Ryan,

Thank you for your letter. I must admit that when I moved here, I was very afraid of earthquakes. The Hayward Fault ran right under my apartment building! It was a brick building that would have collapsed in a relatively small earthquake. This fact kept me awake many nights. Sometimes I slept with my shoes on. Then I realized this was a dumb waste of time and I moved to a different apartment in SF.

So, why would an educated person live like this?

Since California was formed by a string of volcanoes, it is a very volatile place. In fact, some people think that one day the whole state is going to fall into the ocean! But in reality, many scientists think that small amounts of stress are released in a series of little earthquakes instead of one big earthquake. There are small earthquakes here almost every day.. You don't even feel most of them, they don't damage anything and aren't very scary. (I'm guessing that Mr. Visco is trying to make Earth Science dramatic and exciting for you--so he may not have mentioned this.)

BUT, for argument's sake, let's say there may be a huge earthquake any day. Maybe tomorrow. Or maybe it will happen in 200 years. Or maybe it will never happen. Why take the chance of living here, right?

Well, San Francisco is a very cosmopolitan, hip, supercool city. Being young and single, San Francisco has a lot of people (cute boys) my age. There are tons of bars, restaurants, parties and places to see bands. Erica, it is soooo much fun. I grew up in Indiana. Very boring. Very flat. Very few cute boys.

After travelling all over the world, San Francisco is my favorite city. The views from the city are spectacular--ocean, mountains, beaches, and very steep hills and cliffs. The weather is between 60 and 70 degrees year round. Everyone that comes to visit me wants to stay. In fact, the vacancy rate is only 1%. San Francisco has the highest cost of living in the country (that means TONS of people want to live here, but there isn't much space, so it is very expensive).

Do all these people have a death wish?

Certainly not. Many people (myself included) would rather take the very slim chance of dying here than living somewhere boring. There are so many boring places with very deadly natural disasters like tornados, hurricanes, blizzards, typhoons, and floods. No one knows when they will actually die, right? You can't walk around being afraid of what may happen, can you? Live your life in whatever way makes you happiest.


C. Ryan

P.S. Tell Mr. Visco to stop scaring you in an effort to make class more interesting.