August 09, 2007


Holy crap! Last night I experienced my first earthquake, and it wasn't fun. Promptly at 1 a.m., the walls and floor of my building began shaking. Just as quickly, it stopped. Then, a second later, it happened again. The building creaked. The vertical blids swayed. I became nauseous.

At first, I thought that my neighbors were having incredibly vigorous sex. Then, after some critical physics calculations, I determined that two (or even three) people having sex could not possibly shift an entire high-rise building weighing hundreds of tons.

I immediately got online and checked the U.S. Geological Survey website. Sure enough, the site reported that an earthquake measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale had struck near Chatsworth, California at 12:58 a.m. Pacific time. I am located quite a distance south of Chatsworth, so I wondered what it felt like at ground zero.

Next, I looked up some earthquake safety tips. I read that I should get under a desk if a quake hits, and then "move with it until the shaking stops." The thought of doing some kind of stripper dance under a wooden desk while those many tons of concrete sat waiting in the floors above me did not give me much comfort.

Then I picked up the telephone and almost called some friends who live in single family houses and low-rise buildings nearby. I wanted to get out of this building. But I decided not to be a bother. So I found some matches, candles, a flashlight and a hand-crank radio that I keep for emergencies, put them all in one place, and then stayed awake, thinking that another quake might strike at any moment.

Wasn't I saying just yesterday that I'm so excited to have moved to California? This was a little too much excitement.


At 1:59 PM, Blogger HomeImprovementNinja said...

With all those taxes, you would think they could do something about the earthquakes.

At 2:04 PM, Blogger media concepts said...

Remember, this is the state that passed Proposition 13, which drastically reduced property taxes and sharply limited their increases going forward. As a result, the public schools (which are largely funded by property taxes) are dismal, and other essential local services such as garbage collection are woefully inadequate. Surprise surprise, lots of stuff has to be paid for with taxes, and if you take in less taxes, you'll get less of the stuff.

At 7:58 PM, Blogger Barbara said...

I experienced my one and only earthquake in Lima, Peru, in the late 70's. It's a weird feeling not to be in control of what's going on around you but to be totally aware of it. I think you're supposed to stand in a door frame, or at least that was what we did, until the tremors stopped. It seemed like it lasted for an eternity, when in fact it was probably less than a minute.

You're in a highrise in earthquake country???!

At 11:23 PM, Blogger media concepts said...

Now they tell me. I was wondering why there are few other highrises out here. I'm looking to move out soon...

At 4:27 AM, Blogger Ghetufool said...

i was in shillong where earthquake is a way of life. first i used to panic. later on i got so frustrated that i used to lie down on my bed expecting the roof to collapse!

At 12:16 PM, Blogger media concepts said...

I guess I'll become jaded about them eventually. Either that or a pancake.


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