Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I Felt The Earth Move

I was all set to write a post about the crazy weekend I had last weekend (Legs's 30th birthday followed by a whirlwind 24-hour trip to New York that involved a bottle of champagne, a hired car, the best steak dinner I've ever had, a pair of Russian strippers, dancing at Bar St. Mark's [which does not have a dance floor, BTW], a very angry game of Super Mario Brothers at 4am, candied bacon for brunch at The Smith, and then eighteen dollar mimosas at the Garden Cafe at the Plaza...) and then it had to go and earthquake, and, as Jackal says, "I'M ALL ABOUT TRENDING," so I guess I have to write about the earthquake.

OK but seriously, all of the above is factual. I didn't know you could get Super Mario Brothers and a pair of Russian strippers (no way they were twins, as claimed...unless they were somehow twins with different mothers. Or different fathers. Or both.) in the same sentence, let alone the same night. I was glad that New Kid could come out and play with us, even gladder that she allowed me access to her vintage Nintendo system after 4am. She is truly a good friend.

I digress.

I happened to be in a meeting leading a discussion on current goings-on in the organization when I noticed everyone staring oddly out of the windows (which comprised the entire south-facing wall of the room we were in). And then I saw the trees ripple, and my first thought was that Hurricane Irene had somehow jetted up from where it was around the Bahamas at 6am that morning and reached Baltimore at the speed of sound. It looked like wind outside, the way everything suddenly tipped sideways. It sounded like wind. And then, and even I thought it was cliche at the time, I saw the ground literally roll. Like waves. It rolled and the entire room pitched from one side to another. It looked as though the panes of glass separated briefly from the window frames. For a moment, everything was separate from the thing it was supposed to be a part of. My feet were on the floor, but the floor I was standing on was somehow different from the floor the people across the room were standing on. Some people actually fell slightly over, and everyone got up out of their chairs and instinctively away from the wall of windows. But it's not as though they had a choice: it was as though the room were jaggedly propelling them out of their chairs and away from the windows.

I wasn't scared at first because I thought it was the wind. I genuinely thought it was the wind. Maybe a tornado. And I thought, OK, whatever it was has passed. And then someone said, earthquake. And then I was scared. Was it the first wave? Was there another coming? Were we in danger? Should we get out of the building? Later, someone would tell me that she feared a tsunami. I hadn't thought of that at the time, but I'm sure as hell thinking about it now.

I'm born and raised in Maryland. I spent three years in Florida. Storms and wind I can handle. They come, and go just as quickly. I know all the drills, I know where to stand, I know what and what not to do.

But an earthquake? It was my first. It was the first time the earth underneath me has failed to be stable. I can envision floods, I can understand wind. But seismic activity...I have no bearing for that. For an hour after the earthquake, I couldn't get my sea legs.

Like any other national disaster, text messaging and phones were down. Thankfully, I have Gchat on my phone and was quickly able to ascertain that most of my friends and family were OK, just surprised, and still in a state of wonder of it. It will become one of those "where were you when..." Zeitgeists. There are already hash tags, Facebook pages, "likes." It's way trending.

And damn. I totally could have made some "Russian Twins and Mario Brothers!" hashtag and been ALL OVER the INTERWEBS. Ah, well. This shall have to suffice. Shiggity shiggity shwa. And, you know, #earthquakes. #EARTHQUAKES. #EARRRRTTHHQUUAAAAKES.

No, but seriously, I am sort of endlessly grateful it was as minor as it was. No lie, that was scary. We East Coasters are not used to such things.

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