So I Thought I Might Die Today… | Matt Stout Poker Blog September 5, 2012

This morning I awoke to the feeling of my bed moving back and forth. I thought that one of my roommates was just being a dick and rolled over ready to say, “Knock it off, asshole!” but saw no one…

Vista Las Palmas

Vista Las Palmas is the place to be if you’re staying in Jaco Beach. We’re on the 14th floor of a 16-story high-rise condo…the only high-rise in Jaco Beach. Ironically, that also makes it EXACTLY WHERE DON’T WANT TO BE THERE WHEN AN EARTHQUAKE HITS!!!

Once I woke up and realized that no one was shaking my bed, it only took me a few seconds to figure out that it was an earthquake despite that foggy morning feeling. I hopped out of bed and my mind started racing. What do I do? I grew up in NJ, we didn’t have earthquake drills! Stand in the doorway maybe?

As I looked towards the doorway, I see several bottles of liquor falling off the shelf right next to it. I swear I spent about one second thinking, “I hope the Grey Goose Le Orange is okay.”

GAH! Then a lamp fell off a table right in front of me. I switched from thinking strategy to just looking around to figure out where to stand to avoid large objects that may be next to fall. I stand in what feels like a relatively safe spot for a second and try to figure out my course of action.

Then I saw my roommate Adam BOLT out his bedroom door and head for the front door during the worst part of the earthquake. For some reason I nearly start laughing out loud at his frenzied scramble out the door despite the the fact that it was the peak of the earthquake and the building was swaying back and forth by what had to be a few feet, not just inches. I wondered if I should follow him, but figured if the building was going down it was going to be quickly. I didn’t think trying to run down 14 flights of stairs, which is on the edge of the building with railings you can easily be flung over, mind you, was going to be an easy feat.

I’m actually a little surprised that I didn’t panic more when it happened. I’ve never really feared death, so I wasn’t really freaking out too much. My brain scrambling, but I kept a pretty rational mind about it all and was even trying to figure out what tactic would have given me the best chance of survival if the building did fall over…even though this falls into the “overly optimistic” category right alongside using your seat cushion as a floatation device in the event of a water landing.

It was under a minute after I woke up that it was all over, but needless to say it felt MUCH longer. My other roommates began emerging from their rooms with similarly shocked and confused looks on their faces while we made sure everyone was okay.

At first the power, internet, and water were all out. The power and internet came back within fifteen minutes or so though, and the filthy degenerate within me immediately considered registering for the World Championship of Online Poker events that I had been planning on playing. I eventually decided that I should probably hold off…more out of fear of unstable internet than of aftershock, to be honest. I know, my degen tendencies run deep. I take great pride in that.

I went to breakfast with my buddy Gino after our little near-death experience, more so because I had no water to make coffee with than the fact that everyone seemed to think that we should evacuate the building. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I do have my reasons for doing things prioritized well. Thanks for noticing.

I was mostly just happy to be alive, then concerned again when I realized the risk of a tsunami was our next threat and that we were staying RIGHT next to the ocean. Then I got to thinking about how I had the DOJ to thank for my near-death experience, and that Black Friday could have taken my life today. Thanks DOJ!!!

After breakfast we decided to go back to the condo and found the other roommates there. We all walked around the place surveying the damage together. Lamps and glass bottles were broken on the floor along with various small objects. There was enough vodka on the floor to make a bum’s week. The big screen TV had fallen flat down onto the TV stand on top of the PS3. There were huge cracks in the walls. Various items had been thrown off counters and tables and were strewn about the floor. Sadly, we started cleaning a lot of this up before we realized that the pictures would have been pretty cool.

One thing that really caught our eye, though, was the grind station where Adam and I play. Now, our station was atop a rickety and HIGHLY questionable table to begin with. Then, as if he was determined to push the envelope, he has his monitor perched on an upside-down pot because he likes to have his screen above his laptop screen while he plays. His contention that “It’s more stable than it looks” became a tongue-in-cheek running joke over the past week every time someone bumped into the table and we had that momentary fear that it was about to go.

Well, wouldn’t you know it…one of the only damn things in the entire place that looked like it was untouched was our grind station. Guess it is more stable than it looks after all!

“It’s more stable than it looks.”

I’m happy to report that the Grey Goose Le Orange bottle DID make it despite falling about four feet to the ground. What a trooper! Half the cap was cracked off and pieces of broke glass were sticking out of it, but it was alive! The Citron, however, was not so fortunate…especially for my roommate Dan, who stepped on a piece of the glass and cut his foot on it.

By the time two hours had passed, the tsunami warning had been canceled and we were sitting around debating whether we were going to have to clean the place ourselves since our maid didn’t show up today (I wonder why?), or if we were going to try to find a replacement maid. Everything returned to normal, and we sat around being lazy bums and watching football while we occasionally reminded each other how cool it was that we were still alive.

Spolier: We’re really lazy, and we got the maid.

Matt Stout