Thursday, August 23, 2012

Earthquake? Really?

August 23, 2012

The best thing my father taught me is just because something is deadly serious doesn't mean it's not funny. He had a wonderful sense of humor and the quick wit of the Gemini. I'm sorry he missed what would have been, for him, prime material.

One year ago today, on August 23, 2011, the east coast of the United States had a true Carol King moment - the earth moved under our feet. Centered in Mineral, Virginia, the 5.8 magnitude quake rumbled as far away as Ontario, Canada. News of the quake spread faster than the shock wave. People in New York learned about it on Twitter fifteen seconds before they felt the quake. Such are the times we live in.

This earthquake is the only one I've ever experienced, I'm delighted to say. I didn't enjoy it. I spend the work week trapped in an old building, and when said old building began to vibrate, I was not pleased. When my chair began its possessed roll sideways, I knew it was time to run before the ceiling collapsed. (The roof above my head is where several HVAC units sit. Would you have simply sat there? I don't think so.) Being there alone that afternoon, I grabbed my purse and exited the building - fast.

Outside, the world seemed so normal. No sirens blaring. No motorists out of their cars wandering about the street looking dazed. Never having felt an earthquake before, I thought something HAD happened inside the building and I began to look for smoke or some tell-tale sign of an explosion. There was nothing. Nada.

At this point, I questioned my sanity.

Then my cellphone rang - my friend in Kansas calling.

"How'd you like the earthquake?" she asked.

"Is that what the fuck that was?" I replied. (My language deteriorates in direct proportion to the world tilting under my feet.)

I perched on the fender of my car and enjoyed the sunshine for a wee bit while we chatted and I convinced myself it was safe to go back inside. When I did, news of the quake was all over the Internet and I caught up.

I called my partner to see how he and the house fared. He wasn't home, but he was fine. In the end it shook out that people in smaller structures didn't get the same vibration people in larger structures did. Large mass versus small mass. Simple equation.

Thankfully, and most importantly, no one in my community was injured, and property damage was minimal. And that's why we can look back on the August 23, 2011 earthquake and laugh at our reactions. 

Because it's good to laugh at yourself sometimes. Keep smiling!


1 comment:

Carolina Valdez said...

I'm just seeing this, KC, and I love your kitty.

I was in an old county hospital when an serious earthquake hit San Francisco some years back. Another student nurse and I were on our break in a deserted kitchen sipping hot chocolate. Being Californians, we immediately knew what was happening when the old brick building began to sway.

My classmate was Catholic, and terrified because she hadn't gone to confession recently. I, being Protestant, felt like I'd be welcomed at the Pearly Gates, flaws and all. I think about her often, wondering if she's ever missed confession again.