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Hearts of L.A. / How the Quake Rocked Our Spirits and Changed Our Lives : MAKING SENSE : 'I didn't want to die alone. It went through my mind.'

January 30, 1994|Michael Richards | Richards, 45, an actor, appears as "Kramer" in the television comedy "Seinfeld" and lives in Studio City. and

I waited it out underneath a big desk I have in my bedroom.

Once I got my flashlight and turned it on, I saw that this was quite a quake. It had thrown a lot of stuff around. So I got dressed. I got my black leather carrying bag and I put all my accounts in there--my checking accounts, corporate accounts and so forth. I got a leather jacket on, and I just got on my bike to ride over to Ed Begley Jr.'s house, half a mile away.

I knew Eddie was hooked up to solar power. So he would have electrical power. But Eddie wasn't home. He was in Prague doing a picture.

I wanted to just be with friends. I didn't want to die alone. I thought this is why man has a civilization.

The people across the street from me are older people. They're in their 60s. They've lived in their home for 38 years, and they have a lot of memories invested in the objects there. All those were destroyed. And it's hard to let it go. It's hard to die in a sense. So I felt compassion and a desire to help them. That is the goodness that I think has come out of this for me. It has awakened my heart a bit to everyone else.

That is the balance between culture and nature. I think the earthquake has just awakened me more to the natural world. It just knocked me out of my cultural knot. I think perhaps that is the message to all of us: to stay more conscious of the planet. It's destructive, but we can be as equally destructive by ignoring it.

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