Earthquake Virgins


Hey, in case you hadn’t heard, there was a reasonably sized earthquake yesterday centered somewhere in Virginia. And how did I find out about it?

Twitter, of course.

During my regular perusing of Twitter via my TweetCaster app, I came across several tweets from a friend of mine who lives on DC and my first impression was, “Really? An earthquake? Out there? Huh.”

My second thought was to find out if all of my peeps on the east coast were doing fine and the confirmed via Twitter that everything was hunky-dory. One said the following:

@aeromat Safe and sound in Southern Jersey. If we’re going to get CA #earthquakes I demand getting SoCal weather, too. And palm trees.

Fortunately, they were all okay with nothing major to report.

Now I know those of you on the east coast are catching Hell from us over here in California because, well, that’s the fun of living out here: the element of surprise by the sudden shifting of tectonic plates. Earthquakes can and do happen at any time and we are always at the ready in case one happens to hit.

With all that said, I don’t think it’s fair to go on criticizing them for their reactions which, from what I’d read on Facebook and Twitter, were definitely not recommended during an earthquake. Those ranged from running outside, calling 911 (since there’s absolutely nothing they can do about it), or just general panicking.

It’s just not fair because, to be quite honest, us Californians wouldn’t know what to do during a tornado should a bigger one hit over here. I say “bigger” because we did have a small one run through the neighborhood years ago.

And just in case you’re wondering, here’s a brief breakdown of what goes through the mind of a native Californian during an earthquake.

The Shaking Begins. You’re not really sure if it’s an earthquake. It could be the chair you’re sitting on, a passing truck, whatever. Maybe you farted. Maybe the cat’s running through the house with a brick in his mouth. Whatever the case, you never at first think it’s an earthquake.

The Shaking Gets Stronger. Yeah, it’s an earthquake alright. At this point you start to determine the magnitude, what kind it was (and there are differences, believe me), where it was centered, and how long it will last. And in this day and age, you grab your nearest mobile device and start posting on social networks or, in my case, even blog about it.

The Shaking Gets Even Stronger. A few seconds into it, you begin to realize that it’s stronger than you had originally thought and you should probably get off the sofa and stand in the doorway but the sofa is so comfortable and the nearest doorway is maybe 10 feet away. Too much effort. You resume current activities – on the sofa.

You’re Over It. As the shaking begins to subside, you begin to rate the earthquake on your own personal scale of “Meh” to “Yeah, that was a good one, alright.” Then it’s time to tour your estate and check for any damage, like you know, how much water the birdbath lost.

And that’s pretty much how we handle them.

So to all of you out there on the east coast who managed to get your proverbial earthquake you-know-whats, you-know-whatted yesterday, I’ll go easy on you and just ask a few questions.

How was it? What did you think? What was going through your mind when all that weird shaking started? Did you panic like a sissy girl?

Feel free to leave your comments. I won’t pick on you too much 🙂


2 thoughts on “Earthquake Virgins

  1. Southern NJ here — 5 miles east of Philadelphia. Never felt an earthquake before! So I was at work, grumpy that I had waited so long to get some lunch. My chair started wiggling, much like things vibrate if you have someone nearby jiggling their leg on the floor. Then my monitor started shaking. I pushed my chair back from my desk and looked up at the decorations swaying from the ceiling. Everyone in the office stood up in unison. The rumbling was going up my legs and it looked like the walls were moving.

    “Is this an earthquake?” someone asked. “It has to be,” I said. “The only other thing that would move us like this is if Camden Catholic (high school across the street) exploded, and that would have been quicker.” I backed up into the doorway of an empty office and watched the swaying. And then it slowed and stopped. I can tell you, we had NO idea what to do. I tried to call WM at home, but the cell phone wasn’t connecting. I got a hold of my mother on the office’s landline to her home line, and confirmed that it was something bigger than just here.

    Two minutes later we were told to evacuate the building. I don’t know what good that did, because we certainly weren’t out long enough to have a building inspection. We came back in and life went on. Meaning I hopped on Twitter and Facebook. Then I peeked in on the newsroom.

    An hour later, I was shaking like a leaf because: 1) Earthquake? Here?!? 2) I seriously had no idea what we should be doing during an earthquake. In retrospect, I think that I *should* have gone outside, away from a building roof that could have collapsed on me. I don’t know why inside is safer, other than my memory of Lois Lane’s car plummeting into a chasm in Superman.

    And I wryly smiled at the ribbing from the West Coast because after having to put up with national news about Carmageddon for weeks we figure we could use the attention. 😉


    1. As I said in the post, we here in CA wouldn’t know what to do in the event of a weather-related disaster even with sufficient warning. Knowing how our media coverage is out here, with man-on-the-street team coverage on every L.A. street corner whenever a freaking rainstorm hits, I would imagine it would be downright mayhem if not hysterical (in a funny, funny way) if we ever had something HUGE. As it is, reporters shart their pants when we get hail.

      The good thing is that you now know there is probably an active faultline somewhere out there so you can be prepared for another one just in case. Time to go to Wegmans and stock up! And know that any future shaking may not be an actual earthquake but an aftershock. Heck, we still get them from earthquakes that happened months ago.

      So I completely get you and your feelings toward everything. And yes, Carmageddon was so much media hype. Most of SoCal wasn’t anywhere hear the action. The thing is that there will be another one next year as they replace the other side of the reconstructed bridge. You’ve been warned 🙂


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