earthquake day

So by now, I think that the majority of the U.S. is aware that the east coast experienced a 5.8 earthquake on Tuesday.  Luckily it appears that, besides a few toppled angels at the National Cathedral, there was minimal damage and no one was hurt.  As for me, I was at work in my Arlington high rise, just finishing up a meeting, when the whole building started swaying.  Everyone immediately started playing a game of prarie dog, poking their heads up above their cubes and looking around anxiously.  My supervisor was actually in the elevator during the quake, and was positive that the cables were about to break.  When he got out of the elevator, he told us all to go outside, so we joined the mass exodus flooding the stairwell.  Someone later said that there were cracks in the walls, but I don’t remember seeing them.  (I noticed that people had a tendency to over-exaggerate in the aftermath of the afternoon: I overheard my coworker tell her dad that the earthquake lasted two minutes!  False.)  We all gathered in an empty parking lot, rattled, each trying in vain to get on our phones and call all the necessary people.  Luckily, I have a Twitter (so THERE, all you nay-sayers!  Twitter IS handy!) and was thus able to get the most up-to-date info.  We milled around outside for about an hour before the building briefly opened back up to allow everyone to get any belongings they had left behind.  I wasn’t sure if the metro was running, and didn’t want to battle it out on a crowded platform with stressed women and farty old men, so I hitched a ride with coworker Suzannah to her apartment only a few blocks away. 

Surprisingly, we proceeded to have a WONDERFUL afternoon.  We popped in a movie (Something Borrowed–not as good as the book) and opened some Woodchucks (can you say Monroe Hill #2, spring semester of fourth year??), and relaxed.  I also found her new iPad, which was an endless supply of entertainment for two girls looking to blow off some steam after a tumultuous few hours.

Her iPad (and most Macs) has a photobooth app, which lets the user distort pictures in a variety of ways.  I proceeded to make myself as beautiful as possible:

Just kidding guys.  This NEXT one really shows me at my best:

Stunning, I know.  Photobooth really captures my best features.

Suzannah and I had so much fun just messing around with her iPad.  It was one of those semi-surreal five minutes where everything is funny–all the circumstances align to make the most ordinary events hilarious.  Perhaps we were so wound up from the earthquake, or from being out of the office at 3 in the afternoon, but we were cracking up.  Her dog, Bitsy, kept wanting to join the fun, but this was an adult-only party.  (Obviously.)

Suzannah also found her most flattering angle:

She was also wildly successful in giving me nightmares for the rest of the night.

I don’t remember the earthquake being particularly scary–it would be better described unsettling because so few people had ever experienced one, and the DC metro area was so inadequately prepared to deal with it.  I don’t think anyone was ever fearful for their lives, but it was certainly a jarring 30 seconds that forced everyone to deviate from their typical Tuesday routines.  (And don’t we all hate that?) 

I know that everyone in California snickered and adopted their favorite know-it-all position, but the earthquake was an unknown phenomenon here.  Imagine L.A. going through the 2009 Snowpocalyspe–all the career lifeguards would be running around with their heads cut off, using their surfboards to try and clear paths to the beach.  (I tease.)  Everybody has things they never have–and never want to–experience, and for many Washingtonians, an earthquake is one of those.

Luckily, Suzannah and I recovered our wits in the amound of time it took to pop open a beer, and had a really great afternoon.  If a casual observer saw the crazy pictures we spent an hour taking, they would have no clue that we had just lived through an earthquake.  (Dramatic enough??) 

I leave you with one last gem before I abandon my computer to buy a flashlight and bottled water in preparation for a lovely weekend with Irene.

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One Response

  1. HILARIOUS!!! I could NOT leave that thing alone if I had one. That’s just the simple kind of thingie that would amuse me for hours…several steps above the fart machine, eh?

    I am eagerly awaiting your Irene blog. The action just keeps coming!

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