With the exception of typhoons, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, flooding, landslides, avalanches, Ebola virus, and Sarah Palin, I've always wanted to experience every single natural disaster known to man. I've done the whole tornado thing a couple of times, I've done flash flooding more than I'd care to count, and heck, I've even done my fair share of not-so-naturally-caused fires. Upon my move to Los Angeles in January 2008, I was well aware that I was in the midst of earthquake territory. I'd hear tales of earthquakes past, and every time, I'd find myself wondering just what it would be like to feel the ground shaking beneath me. Literally every time I heard any mention of an earthquake, I would drop to the ground. Not out of fear or desire to protect myself, mind, but to feel as much as possible that shaking feeling far underground. When the mini-earthquake hit here last summer, I was out of town at the time. I must confess that while that was kind of a relief, there was a side of me that was all, "No Fair! I wanted to feel the earthquake!"

Cut to tonight. I'm standing in my apartment, and I'm looking at the carpet and wondering just what I stepped on that feels like a rock that--OH HOLY SHIT--that's moving! It hit me, at last, what all this means: experiencing an earthquake is the surest way to know that you've lived here. You can fill out those change of address forms, buy all the Hollywood t-shirts you want, walk the town and hit the beach every weekend, try to catch a glimpse of some celebrity's gaudy mansion, and be able to spot plastic surgery on someone's face from twenty feet away, but until you've really felt an earthquake, you haven't lived lived here.

People, it's official: On May 1, 2009, I felt my first earthquake. A 4.4 on the RIchter scale, five seconds of rumbling followed by another ten seconds of small tremors, and an epicenter surprisingly close to where I live. I'm checking that item off my to-do list now. Carry on.