I feel a slight obligation to blog about the earthquake and hurricane that struck the east coast. How could I gloss over these significant events. We’ll start with the earthquake, it did happen first after all.
(almost 2:00 pm, Tuesday, August 23, 2011) I was sitting across from someone at work and we were chatting as I suddenly felt something, although I couldn’t articulate it then, I know realize it felt like a wave, it was mild, enough to move our wind chimes but not actually cause any sound to chime. I know it’s odd to have wind chimes inside an office but apparently my predecessor like 2 people ago hung them and to date no one has seen fit to remove them. My stomach turned and although I wasn’t sick, my body was confused the rest of the day. Anyway, the sensation was jarring enough to stop me mid-sentence and ask my co-worker “What the hell was that?!” to which he responded “you felt that too?” We all thought it was an individual experience. It was all very bizarre. My mind immediately tried to resolve the inconsistency by seeking out logic… “are they doing construction below us? or is it coming from above us?” As we tried to figure it out people starting coming out of their offices, similarly alarmed and puzzled, they seemed to find solace in numbers and all huddled around our area discussing it until another came by and said resolutely, “This was an earthquake,” to which I immediately replied with a “what? that’s impossible, how do you know?” his response was simply “I know these things” and he walked off. After I logged my initial speculation on twitter I took to Google to get answers. It was indeed an earthquake. I went to text my husband but he got to me first. He had returned home since a busted pipe made working conditions in his office insufferable (totally unrelated) and he had an important conference call to make. He was surprised I felt it too!
We all had something to talk about for the rest of the afternoon but our office building is what might be considered mid-rise and is basically an intricately carved rock. It honestly never occurred to me to leave the building or my desk for that matter. However, in the late afternoon, our company sent out an email letting us know that all is safe and that those of us who might have “prudently self-evacuated” can return to work safely. How is it that I didn’t “self-evacuate?” Next time, I am so “self-evacuating.” As it turns out a co-worker who was out of the building and walking on the sidewalk felt absolutely nothing as did another who was having lunch at a cafe down the street on a ground level. Another person was so enveloped in his work that he didn’t realize anything happened until the crowd started to gather in our hallway. They all admitted to feeling jilted for having missed it. Some of us got a little silly over it, I think New Yorkers find comfort in laughter but that doesn’t mean we don’t care about those who did suffer loss of life or property because of it. How else do you resolve in your mind that the seemingly impossible has just happened if not with laughter or sarcasm?
My parents live in Texas and with my father’s health and the birth of my latest nephew the day before, I knew my mom wouldn’t have been keeping an eye on the news so just before I descended the subway steps I phoned my mom to let her know I was safe and sound. If she’d finally taken a moment to herself while I was underground and she couldn’t reach me, well I didn’t need to put anymore on her plate of worry and concern. She was upset but happy to hear I was ok and said I did the right thing in calling. There were no train delays, and I got home safe and sound.
We were extremely lucky. I’m marking “earthquake” off my bucket list and in addition to thanking my lucky stars, I’m hoping it was both my first and last.