A little pleasure of mine is to feel a slight sway of the ground beneath me, and then rush over to usgs.gov and keep reloading this page until a big red square appears on the map of California, confirming that what I felt was an earthquake. It happened just a few minutes ago, a 5.5 on the Richter scale.
When I was in elementary school there was a lot of talk about "The Big One", an expected huge earthquake that would devastate Southern California. I used to worry about it. But it hasn't happened yet and now people worry about other things (terrorism, global warming, genetically modified foods...) Everyone thought gas would top $5/gallon and change our lives forever until in the last few months it dropped suddenly to below $2 again. (If I'm understanding correctly, the price of oil these days has more to do with market speculation than with its actual scarcity or the price at which OPEC chooses to sell. First stocks, then houses, then oil. If only someone would tell me what the next market bubble's going to be.) Funny how what we worry about has more to do with fads the media chooses to emphasize than with what's actually most threatening to life and health. Funny how the disasters that do happen are almost never the ones we were expecting. In the end most of us will probably die of mundane cancer and heart disease. And then? I hope everyone sets aside some time to worry about that.