In other cool things about L.A., I have to admit the non-mortal earthquakes are pretty great. I’ve sat through two of the 5+ richter ones and was about 4 miles from last night’s epicenter. The most striking thing is that in the first few seconds of an earthquake, a completely random explanation for it pops into my mind. The first time around I got quite irate that our upstairs office neighbours were thumping around making such racket that the building swayed. Last night, although I live 2 miles from the freeway, I instantly thought ‘wow, that’s one big truck passing by. Or maybe it’s a tank?’.
It turns out that’s not an unusual reaction. Human brains are very good at rationalising the immediate aftermath of a disaster into business as usual. But, contrary to popular belief, not panicking isn’t all that successful a survival strategy. A book I read last year ‘The Unthinkable; Who Survives When Disaster Strikes’, says much of the planning around plane crashes, fires, etc. assumes that the first thing people will do is panic and run around doing stupid things that impede their escape. In fact, the most common and dangerous reaction is to just go limp, stay passive and assume that the nightclub fire is really not all that bad or that you should sit in your crashed plane seat until help arrives. Or that the hostage situation is all a terrible misunderstanding. That’s a very good way to die.
The studies show that the people most likely to survive, say, a plane crashing into their building (assuming they’re not unlucky enough to be on a floor above it), are the ones who don’t listen to their inner rationalizing voice, or the outer exhortations to stay put and ‘not panic’. They not only recognize early on that something’s seriously amiss, but have probably thought about escape routes already and are able to act quickly and purposefully. Then again, by definition, the survivor studies exclude the thought processes of people who don’t make it out, and the survivors themselves seem likely to try and string together some meaning from an arbitrary event using lashings of post facto rationalisation.
My disaster-preparedness is rubbish. I don’t have a stash of bottled water and dollar bills. My torch battery got used up in middle of the night reading sessions. And I don’t even have a gun to help me rob the essentials from better planners such as the Mormons. As soon as last night’s earthquake was over and I’d updated my facebook status, I got right back to watching the series finale of Grey’s Anatomy. 8 minutes later, Izzie’s dramatic death scene made me completely forget the quake had ever happened.
Which is another great thing about L.A. Turns out my tennis partner played the nurse handing over the paddles when the doctors trying to revive poor Izzie shouted “Clear!”. (But Jenny is good a team player who didn’t reveal any spoilers till the episode aired.) Jenny doesn’t watch Grey’s, but was very impressed by Sandra Oh’s ability to maintain a keen emotional pitch during numerous takes. As it was a dramatic climax and the penultimate scene of the season, they did about 50. It can’t have been easy for Katherine Heigl either, being rolled over and jump-started 50 times. I’ve often wondered what it’s like to be an actor lying in bed, trying to look ill and beautiful at the same time, and to emote high drama whilst hardly moving at all. Most of all, though, I wonder about the breasts.
So many actresses have had boob jobs that their breasts don’t naturally flatten to the side when they’re lying flat. They stand up like pyramids, ruining the line of the hospital gown. It’s especially disconcerting when the character in question is the most unlikely augmentation candidate imaginable. When Scully in the X-Files was fighting her alien cancer, I couldn’t focus on the dialogue at all because her tent shape was so distracting. It’s one thing to see girls running along Venice Beach with zero bounce factor, quite another for intellectual and moral centre of a gloomy science fiction series to look like she’s wearing a Madonna-style cone bra lying down.
(In a lovely piece of post-modern reflexivity, tomorrow Jenny is playing a woman on Nip and Tuck who’s getting a breast job. She’s already been to the special effects house to get fitted out for her surgery body and apparently the incisions look very realistic, though the skin tone is a bit light.)
And finally to the TMI bit of TMI. Cone bras may be acceptable or even required in the entertainment industry, but what about us girls who live on our assets in a much more subtle way? Without being too forthcoming about my own requirements, suffice to say that bra measurements are the only test in my life where I have consistently averaged an ‘A’. Over the last couple of weeks, I have made a transatlantic study of bra shops. I have two data points (Marks & Spencer in London & Dublin and Victoria’s Secret in Santa Monica) and two observations:
1. The normal distribution curve has moved to the right, and it is now far easer to find underwear for enormous knockers than averagely small ones.
2.It is now all but impossible to get an unpadded bra in a smaller size.
My theory for observation #1 is that the obesity epidemic means that the average breast size is increasing, so I am slowly becoming an outlier. Which is inconvenient, but not worth burning a bra over.
On observation #2, I wondered if the foam thing only seems like a staple but in fact is a years-long but essentially passing fashion (like FMBs or Ugg boots), or whether it is a signal that more modestly endowed women are not/not supposed to be satisfied with what their genes gave them. This raises the perennial question; how much are women’s fashion choices and body image determined by what the designers and the fashion press dictate is acceptable or desirable, or do the purveyors of fashion simply respond to our current anxieties?
Whatever the cause, the result is certainly more false advertising.
A note to commenters: I’ve already brought the tone around here down far enough for today. Let’s NOT have a thread about big breasts versus small ones…