Wednesday, August 24
Washington DC Quake
It's the day after the Washington, DC Quake of 2011. Here's what I experienced when the ground shook and ordinary time became an indelible memory.
I"m enjoying brunch with a group of grad students. They are from American University. This week they will start their classes in International Studies. With orientation scheduled for Thursday, I wanted to mark the occasion with a little celebration. "Let's have a brunch."
We are finishing our meal when the quake hits at 1:52 pm.
At first I think it's someone playing a joke and jiggling the table underneath. Or maybe it's a a construction truck from the building of a new Walgreen store on the corner. The low rumbling sound could easily be coming from a fleet of construction vehicles. But why? What's happening?
Then the stained glass chandelier above the table begins to swing and we all look at each other in shock. What do we do now?
I was going to run outside onto my patio, but a young woman from California says "NO!" She advises that the safest place is under a door frame. Who would have thought? With 16 floors of concrete above me, I followed her advice.
We all scurry into my short hallway that connects bathroom, bedroom and living room. Crammed under several doorways, we stand stunned and watch the pictures sway on the walls. Something falls off a shelf and crashes to the floor. Oh no!
At such times, you are suppose to have a mental flash-backs of your life. Accomplishments, regrets, people you love and so forth.
Me? I said, "Damn, just when I got all my boxes unpacked, look at what's happening. I'll have a mess to clean up." So much for spiritual depth and insight. Fortunately only one item fell from the shelves and it was not broken.
The quake was over in about 15 seconds or so, but I kept shaking. Never before had I experienced one. The grad students all said that my back-to-school brunch "Rocked and Rolled."
Considering what might have been, all is well in Washington. Several spires on the National Cathedral fell to the ground. It is situated on the highest point of the City. I can only imagine the sway that caused this damage. But no one was hurt.
The 127 year old the Washington Monument is closed for inspection. A few fractures were spotted near the top.
A swimming pool in a sports center at the top of a shopping complex cracked and spilled water on a Target and Best Buys below. But again no one was hurt.
I wonder if there will be Quake Sales. Maybe it will "level" some of the prices. (My brother is responsible for this pun!)
A friend from Lafayette says, "I had no idea that DC was on a fault. I thought that the only fault was above ground in the House of Representatives." I was hoping for a shake-up. But thankfully, life just goes on....