I suppose people think it's very funny and clever to call up their children and pretend to be in the middle of a natural disaster, particularly when they've just had one this morning, even if they did sleep through the whole thing and didn't find out about it until hours later.
As you probably by now know, Illinois suffered a minor quake early this morning, shaking many residents from their beds out onto the floor and awakening them from their hangovers. The news reached me before it reached my parents in Chicago, presumably because I am on Eastern Standard Time and get my news an hour before they do. Being the more devoted and compassionate of the two children, I called my parents on all of their phone lines (or at least the ones they've made available to me) as early and as often as possible until I was sure that everyone had survived and that someone would still be around to help me with my taxes. It turned out that not only had they not felt the rumble but they hadn't even heard anything about it, and that everyone was a little upset with me for calling so early in the morning.
As much as they wanted to assuage my fears and make certain I don't needlessly worry, they eventually determined that it is much more important to keep one's sense of humor in tact, which is why this evening my mother called my cell phone, uttered into the receiver "Hi, Ashley, OHMYGOD IT'S AN EARTHQUAKE I HAVE TO GO BYE!" and hung up. The real stand-out comedic element was ignoring all of my subsequent phone calls. When I finally did get in touch with them, it turned out that a vodka tonic was behind the whole thing, and that there was no second tremor after all.
It's a little disconcerting that my own parents would toy with my fragile emotions so carelessly, but then again maybe I'm just upset because no one's showed any interest in the "apocalyptic" snowfall we were supposed to and then did not receive today. But I do live on the coast which means that there will be plenty of natural disasters for me to invent in order to solicit some attention of my own.