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I felt the earth move under my feet...

There was a big ol' earthquake yesterday. The biggest since I got here, or at least the closest. Once while we were rehearsing the Wizard of Oz the whole building shook and everyone got freaked out...but this time I was at work. On the 13th floor at a building in the Howard Hughes Center.

So at first I feel the building sway, and I'm thinking "wheee!" We get little tremors from time to time, it's no big deal. But then it doesn't stop. The building starts to really sway. There's a metallic pinging sound, like a radiator warming up, only from every direction at once. Then I feel the up-and-down shake. And it just doesn't stop.

Quickly I go from "Wheee!" to "This is now how I want to die." (For the record, I either want to be downed in an airplane flying over a volcano eruption and then attacked by sharks...or smothered by boobies.) I don't want to worry about dying at work on a Wednesday. Facing mortality in such a quotidian way is just not fun.

It went on. It felt like a long time, but in reality it was only a couple of minutes. Long enough for friends online to IM me about it, for comments on facebook to pop up. And then it kind of hit me...the power was still on, we were still connected to the internet, business was going on as usual. I considered evacuating the building...getting stuck on the 13th floor would be no fun. But everything was working. So then it was over and we went about our business.

This morning I was thinking about how hard to stop we humans are. We are ineradicable. We build things that just tick along untroubled by even the earth trying to shake us off. We are, in the best possible way, vermin. A field-biologist friend once said, "I have a lot of respect for vermin. In the worst possible conditions, they thrive. They're tough, they're ingenious, they're amazing." And that's us, man.

For good or for ill, the earth just can't shake us off.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jul. 12th, 2010 06:26 pm (UTC)
The thing about being in such a tall building is the earthquake lasts MUCH longer than it actually did, especially with the retrofitting buildings are required to install. Your minutes of swaying was actually based on a five to ten-second shake outside. Kinda cool to think that you were rolling on supports the entire time. :)

I was in my car at a stop sign when it hit. It was so slight, I thought someone was nudging the trunk side to side. I looked around confused, it lasted for, like, thirty seconds, but when the light turned and I checked out the palm trees, they weren't moving a bit. It wasn't until later I was told about the quake.

Given the frequency and power of quakes worldwide of late, I have to say this being what we get is very tame... and quite relieving.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


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