Monthly Archives: September 2005

A Little Bit of New Orleans in Marina Del Rey…?

Today, the power cut out in my Marina Del Rey apartment. A few minutes later, I get up to go out thinking this is no big deal.
So I go out to the hallway and realize the power is out everywhere in the building. And the elevators aren’t working. I then head for the stairs and realize there are NO emergency lights in the freakin’ stairway! I make my way down in pitch darkness to the 2nd floor and feel around for the door handle and open it. I breathe a sigh of relief as i cross the 2nd floor to the other side where there is a stairway leading to the lobby.
There I find still no power and the building employees scrambling around trying to figure out what to do next. I go to complain to one of them that there are no emergency lights in the stairways and that I made my way down in darkness. I tell them that if there was a fire, we would be dead.
I then realize that the powered garage doors are also dead and my car is trapped in the underground garage. Wonderful. I need to go pick up my daughter from school and can’t get my car out!
Outside, one of the employees is on her cellphone with 911. She called to get help for people trapped in the elevators (also in pitch darkness) but was put on HOLD by 911! Geez.
I then contemplate trying 911 myself so i reach down to my cellphone and notice it has no signal whatsoever.
I think about the New Orleans hurricane disaster and how poorly this nation, with all its high tech wonders and wealth, still could not deal with a natural disaster. I think about the fact that if the San Andreas fault were to give way right now, the whole California coastline would be reduced to lawlessness as people go to survival mode, while an inadequate government response plan is put into play. I also think about the events of 9/11 three years ago and how we still haven’t learned and allowed politics and procrastination to delay what needs to be done.
And then I think about my own mini crisis here in my apartment building and we can’t even get that right.
So here’s the scorecard:
– No power
– People trapped in total darkness in elevators, probably scared shitless.
– Cars trapped in garage
– Cellphone has no signal
– 911 puts you on hold (imagine if you were having a heart attack, called 911, and were put on hold)
– Building doesn’t bother with safety codes, and has no emergency lights
We’re dead as a nation and society.
Time to start hoarding batteries and solar panels, and learning how to trap and skin wild animals. Did someone say that you can’t actually start a fire by rubbing two sticks together…?

Sand Castles

The other day I was on the beach with my daughter, her cousin, and our nanny. Under the rays of a beautiful sun, we exercised our architectural skills to the utmost by building the biggest sand castle on the beach that day.
It had a moat, tall walls, a gate through the wall, and a long canal to the sea. It was also decorated with a row of kelp and had a seagull feather, flapping proudly in the wind as the castle’s flag. (Actually, this huge castle really looked like an overgrown bathtub but it was fun to build nevertheless.)
The castle and its construction soon attracted several other kids who cheerfully asked if they could help build it with us. We gleefully said yes as our backs were aching and if they were going to dig and haul sand for you, why not?
During the building, one boy came up to me and said to me that this was fun and cool that we were building this huge castle. And then, he said to me that it was cool to see me building it and that his mom and dad never helped him build sand castles.
My moment of architectural triumph switched to feelings of pity for this boy. Why was it that his parents did not build sand castles with him?
It also got me thinking about the times I went in to my daughter’s class and read stories to them before class officially started. I asked her teacher about how many kids’ fathers go in and read, and it turned out to be about 5 of us who did it, and only 3 of us who vied for the position of number one Dad for the class. And this out of a class of 20+ toddlers.
In my observations on people, I have noticed many things. People get really caught up in their careers and their personal interests. And they won’t let them go, even for their children. I can’t help but think about children who don’t get a deep involvement from their parents. There is a less of a connection with them as the parents are too busy to play or interact with them. There is no time to read to their classes or build sand castles with them.
I can only say that life is tough sometimes and I’m not saying we need to give up our individuality or our interests as people and parents. But I for one am not going to miss some of the best formative and loving years with my daughter, and being involved in her life is something I strive to do always.
When was the last time you built a sand castle with your kid?