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.