To arrive at my present predicament, I ignored and drove through many caution signs without ever paying attention or hitting the brakes.
First, three computer programmers at work resigned the morning after Bob talked with me. Each told pretty much the same story, but the three had different ideas on where to relocate. One chose a small town in Nevada, another chose Wyoming, and the last one opted for Fargo, North Dakota.
Why in the world would anyone ever choose Fargo over San Francisco? Normal people should be warned away from that man, I thought.
Six weeks afterward, a catchy Chronicle headline, “Are Christians Acting Crazy Again,” caught my eye. I thumbed through the newspaper’s pages until I found the full article.
The journalist replayed the words of Bob and the three computer programmers. He also contrasted the actions by what Christians were doing with what Harold Camping and his zealots did a couple of years earlier.
Camping’s followers listened to him and then jumped off the ledge, following his prophecies to the ground. Although these zealots felt the pain of losing everything, their total affect amounted to a drop of water in the economic ocean of America. Too bad for them, but no permanent damage for the rest of us.
This time was different.
The article estimated that 40,000 Christian families had packed up and left San Francisco. A few, like Bob, had been able to sell their homes and their businesses at deep discounts, but most were not that fortunate. The sheer glut of homes dropping onto the real estate and rental markets depressed housing prices in the city almost overnight.
Yet, even more than that, 40,000 Christian families amounted to an estimated total of 150,000 people or 20% of the city’s population. The numbers further broke down into 60,000 job losses, $1.5 billion of gross income losses, and $400 million of tax losses for the city. These losses had already begun to fuel major layoffs at schools and retail stores.
Talk radio, TV, and other media ranted about how selfish the Christians were for jumping ship and thereby destroying San Francisco’s economy. Didn’t these Christians care about or love their neighbors? What kind of examples were they to the rest of the city?
With the wall to wall coverage, everyone in San Francisco knew the reason why the Christians left.
Somehow, this all fell on deaf ears at the time and I thought no more about it until that horrific Saturday morning.
As usual, I began the weekend sitting on the leather sofa in the living room, eating toast and drinking coffee at 6:30 AM. My laptop sat on the coffee table, waiting for me to power it up and log onto some work which needed to be finished before noon. I felt lazy and looked out the window toward the morning lights in Chinatown and the San Francisco Bay.
Then it happened.
A burst of intense light lit up the dreary morning skies. It seemed a thousand times brighter than any flash of lightning I had ever seen. The scorching light temporarily blinded me so I did not witness the mushroom death cloud rising into the air over the city, but I knew it was there. The explosion’s heat caused instant third degree burns on my face and arms.
A nuclear shock wave then spread out from the explosion slamming against our five-story building. The building imploded. Ceilings, I-beams, roof, and debris fell on me. Then, two hundred and thirty mile per hour winds slammed against the building’s carcass and reversed itself. When the winds finally quieted down, little remained of my million dollar condo, plasma TV, and Pottery Barn furniture.
An I-beam and debris covered my hips and legs down to my feet. All feeling was gone below my waist. Although I could move my arms, the weight of the debris was too much to move without leg power. I laid there helpless and scared.
I then drifted in and out of consciousness over the following day or so. During one of my times of lucidity, I discovered the laptop resting next to my head. I powered it up. No internet, but I could at least write my story. Who knows? Maybe somebody will eventually read it and learn how stupid I felt lying here, suffering in pain and waiting to die.
To think that I trusted politicians who cared nothing about me personally and only wanted what I could give them in votes and money was shamefully stupid. My mama taught me better than that. Yet, that’s water over the dam and too late to help me now. Que sera, sera.
If only I had