As a result, California building codes are markedly different than the East Coast. None of the cozy little Hobbit Holes of my youth, nor the stately manses waving in the tall branches of the mallorn... err, wait, that's Middle Earth. Okay, none of the marble or brick houses and building, that's what I meant.
Instead, buildings here are very flexible, so that they will bend, like a reed in a heavy wind, rather than fracturing and crushing all the occupants within. Although I have not yet experienced an earthquake here, it's only a matter of time before I do, and I sincerely hope not to be crushed to death when it happens. Though that would be ironic. Especially now that I've written about it.
In the house that I live in, the foundation is extremely deep, and the supporting beams are much thicker than those used on the East Coast. In the building that I work, the floors are sort of flexible so that they'll bend, rather than break. So what, you might reasonably ask?
The immediate effect of this is that every person walking by seems like a hippopatamus doing the Riverdance as they thunder by, shaking the walls, floor, and everything attached to same. When I walk anywhere, I feel the floor reverbate with my every step, sending shockwaves up and down the hall. I picture two people sitting in a Range Rover outside, noticing sudden vibrations in a cup of water sitting on the dash. "What's that?" "Impact tremors." "From what?" "Sysadmin." They flee in horror.
Therefore, I have tried to make a practice of walking lightly everywhere I go. Mostly I do this when I've taken a few steps and feel the floor shake. "Blimey I'm a fatass!" I think to myself. Then I think, "No, it's just California. Well, plus I'm a fatass." Then I begin to try and walk lightly, like unto a ninja made of feathers, wafting in a gentle spring breeze. I don't think there are really ninjas made of feathers though. But if there were, they'd be seriously light on their feet, don't you think?
Maybe the upshot of this is that I will end up regaining the posture and graceful glide of my youth. Maybe I'll cause an earthquake. At any rate, nobody here is going to sneak up on me unless they're veeerrrry neeky.