Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I Love to Rock and Roll...'s the "rattle and roll" part I'm not so fond of.

In case you were under a rock yesterday (and that might not have been such a good idea), you probably heard that the East Coast was struck by a 5.8 magnitude earthquake, which had its epicenter in Mineral, VA, near Richmond. The earthquake was felt as far north as Toronto and as far south as Florida, but was felt most strongly from the Washington, DC area up to New York and New Jersey.

While Californians are mocking the East Coast for reacting so strongly, this was the most powerful earthquake to hit us in 67 years. And while there were no serious injuries, there was some damage—at the Washington National Cathedral, at least three of the four top stones on the central tower fell off, and cracks appeared in the flying buttresses at the cathedral's east end, the oldest part of the structure. The top of the Washington Monument has a crack. Historic buildings such as Union Station and the Smithsonian Castle sustained some damage, although nothing significant.

Working in the middle of Washington, DC, our office building was rocked by the quake. At first, since our building is undergoing renovations, we thought it was construction-related, but as the rattling got stronger and stronger, we figured it was an earthquake, so we quickly walked down five flights of stairs and got out of the building. People poured out of nearby buildings, everyone was trying to make calls on their cell phones or check the internet to see what happened, it was total chaos.

Sadly, the day's events reminded me a lot of 9/11. Yesterday was another absolutely beautiful day, the building rattled without warning (I was working in Old Town Alexandria 10 years ago, not far from the Pentagon, so we felt the impact of the plane crash), and I wasn't able to get through to my family or friends for some time. And in this case, I had no idea whether our house sustained any damage or if our dog was safe at doggie daycare.

In the end, everything turned out fine. Our house sustained no structural damage; apart from a few broken tchotchkes, nothing insurmountable occurred. And Quinn was none the worse for wear, although I'd imagine the rattling probably made doggie daycare an even louder place to be!

It's funny...I've thought about moving to California many times, but one of the things that has kept me from it was the threat of earthquakes. And now, here I am, in the area where I've lived for nearly 25 years, post-earthquake. Go figure.

Can I request a little less eventful day today??

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