It may be my fault. Thirty minutes before the biggest earthquake to hit the East Coast in sixty-seven years, I remarked to a friendly hotelier that DC was a great place to live because we were relatively immune to natural disasters. Did I forget to knock on wood? Are you kidding me? Everyone has their own story as it relates to the quake. And while my story isn’t particularly entertaining, nor was I ever in serious danger, I would ask those on the West Coast who experience earthquakes as another facet of their life, to indulge my hyperbole only briefly, and perhaps think back to their first earthquake.
The quake rocked my world.
I had just returned from said lunch and to my seventh floor apartment. I sat down to my computer and, as I’m accustomed to doing, logged into Facebook. The next fifteen seconds happened in slow motion for sure, and it’s the reason I’m able to write about it as if it lasted fifteen minutes. The rumbling noise was first, followed by a vibration I couldn’t easily place. Nothing about the rattle was familiar to me and so in the first seconds my very first thought was that I was experiencing intensely low blood sugar (I’m a type 1 diabetic). But it would have been a sensation I’d never before felt so it was hard to know how to treat it. All I knew was that I was not steady on my feet as I stood from my desk chair. In the next second I thought, that is some crazy jack hammering they must be doing in my garage beneath my building. But when the die-cast model cars began falling off their shelves along with books, it was hard to ignore this was assuredly beyond my imagination and my own physiology. In the next second, my mind briefly turned to the least likely scenario – an earthquake? Hardly. And so in the next second, my mind turned to the darkest of places, and where most who live in and around Washington or New York, turned – a bomb. But it was frankly shaking for too long for it to have been an explosion of any kind. And since the nation’s capital was not built on a volcano to the best of my knowledge, my mind turned back to the absurd – I was living through an earthquake.
When all was said and done, there was no damage to me and I suffered no physical injury whatsoever. Nearly the entire residential and professional population of the city flooded into the streets (wrong, by the way) and for all intents and purposes, the work day was done. I actually wound up keeping my late appointment. I was able to stay on line and through Facebook, notified everyone that I was just fine. My cell phone didn’t work, but my status updates surely did. Thank you Mark Zuckerberg. So the earthquake is now safely off my bucket list. And more power to you, California. Not sure I’d do it again if asked.