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Why All True Angelenos Keep Sneakers Under Their Bed (And You Should Too)
I slept through Monday night's 3.6 magnitude earthquake but still woke up approximately 90 seconds after the temblor struck, when my phone rang. It was my mother, calling to make sure I was okay—and also to make sure that I still had a pair of running shoes under my bed.
A pair of old but at least still semi-serviceable running shoes tucked under one's bed is the mark of any true Angeleno, as my mother will remind you. Why, you might ask? And why should you, too, move that old pair of shoes from the giveaway pile to prime placement under your bed?
It's not a question of if but when a major earthquake will hit Los Angeles. Southern California is a seismically active region; experts say that the San Andreas fault has been quiet too long and is "locked, loaded and ready to roll," etcetera ad infinitum. Earthquakes are either your birthright, or you knew full well what you were getting into when you moved here. It's only a matter of time.
Now, imagine that The Big One strikes overnight, while you're fast asleep. Suddenly, you're forced to emerge from under the covers and navigate a glass-strewn hellscape. (Your crappy apartment might have already been a hellscape, but at least the windows were previously, presumably, intact). Clearly, the situation is not ideal, but you might as well be prepared. According to California’s Deadliest Earthquakes: A History, "stepping on broken glass and cutting your feet" is "a common problem among earthquake victims."
This, my transplant friends, is why all true Angelenos keep a sturdy pair of shoes under their beds—and why you should too.
Look no further than the homepage of Ready LA, run by the city's Emergency Management Department, for more confirmation: "Always keep shoes near your bed so you can put them on during an earthquake to avoid stepping on broken glass and other objects," their earthquake preparedness list states.
And while we're talking sleeping quarters and quakes, we natives also exhort you to please, please not put anything up over your bed. Hanging bookshelves or heavy, framed art over your bed doesn't mean you have good taste—it means you have a death wish.