41 years old and never felt the earth move…until today.
We had a 5.8 + earthquake in central Virginia today, twenty-seven miles from where I was walking down the hall on the 3rd floor at work. On my way to get a cup of coffee. Or a fax. Something stupefying and work-related. That’s when the floor started to move in just that exact way that it shouldn’t.
I found the nearest unoccupied doorway, stood and waited. And waited. 25 seconds is longer than you’d think. But nothing moved other than the floor. No ceiling tiles dropped and no books fell off the shelves. Nothing dramatic. Except me wondering if it would get any worse.
I went down the stairwell immediately behind two people moving slower than I liked. Until we arrived on the 1st floor, within sight of the exit, where they stopped.
They stood, blocking the hallway, while they decided if they were going to go potty now or later. Perhaps following the aftershock.
Now, this was no west-coast style earthquake. No buildings fell. No loss of life. All in all, a good earthquake to be in. So far. Still, I thought it best to leave. And yet, there they stood. Pondering. Blocking my way.
Those who know me know I am not a patient person. In normal circumstances, I fly through hallways and burst out of doorways on my way to the next thing. It’s just how I walk: purposeful. Fast.
But I waited. This was kind of an emergency and I thought I should behave calmly. I thought of George Costanza on Seinfeld shoving aside a clown and an old woman with a walker as he raced to the door to get away from a fire. That wasn’t me.
Finally, they reached a decision: go pee. Me? I headed for the door, ready to avail myself of the nearby woods and bushes if need be.
Ever taken a boat ride in moderate swell? You know how your legs continue to adjust for the waves, even when you are on dry land? I still feel that hours later.
It wasn’t dramatic. Barely even scary. But it was my first earthquake. I checked it off my first experiences list and said to the universe:
“No more for me. I’m good. Thank you.”