Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Earthquake!

Funny, when I moved to the East Coast, I braced myself for big weather changes from mild, temperate Southern California where my comfort zone had compressed down to about six degrees (73-78 degrees to be exact). And in my first year here in South Carolina, I've experienced snow, rainstorms, and miserably humid heat waves, but wait...there's more! I managed to bring a little bit of California with me here--earthquake.

Truth be told, though I felt the movement, the last thing I thought was earthquake. I happened to be in a Starbucks at the time after dropping off Nana to visit with a friend in North Augusta. I felt the swaying but my first assumption was that the couple in the corner must have enthusiastically started dancing and jumping up and down. But when I looked up, they weren't. Then my next assumption was that the screws in the chair I was sitting on must have gotten loose and made my chair suddenly wobbly. But it stopped, so then I just reconciled that it was my imagination or some majorly huge invisible truck had passed by and I was over it.

To summarize: People dancing exuberantly in a Starbucks, chair screws suddenly coming loose, and invisible truck were in my realm of possible explanations. Not earthquake.

Then I got a call from my concerned sister in New York.


Turns out that buildings were swaying and everyone was told to evacuate. No one knew what what was going on and as folks made their way down a packed stairwell, one woman could be heard panicking loudly about how her cousin in Philadelphia was telling her on her cell phone that they all better get out of the building ASAFP. On top of that no one seemed to be getting service on their cell phones. And when someone would ask, what service are you on? and a person would answer, say, Verizon, a shout would go out that Verizon was down. As one could imagine, this only increased the alarming confusion. Finally, an announcement went out that everything was fine and all should go back to their workstations, that there had been an "external disturbance". Frankly, I can't think of a better vague, code-sounding term to be expressed in post-9/11 New York that would send people out of the building and into the streets faster.

For better or worse, it turns out that half of New York didn't even register the earthquake and had no idea of the panic the other half working in tall buildings were going through. It turns out the 5.8 earthquake was hundreds of miles away near Richmond, Virginia--the residual Californian in me reflexively remarked, "only" a 5.8?) Nana enlightened me that apparently the bedrock on the East Coast (versus, say, California) is more solid and less fractured so that instead of dissipating, earthquake energy travels much farther.

Bottom line, yes we're all fine. West Coasters can stop rolling their eyes about our puny 5.8 earthquake and in return, I'll try to stifle a snide snort when Southern Californian tv stations label nearly every rainfall "StormWatch".

We ended our day with an awesome dinner at Baan Sawan for Nana's last night here in SoCar:

It was also the last night of Grizzly Paul's beard from his Wyoming camping trip!
Wishing Nana a safe flight back to a hopefully earthquake-less SoCal as we look towards our next weather adventure this weekend:  Hurricane Irene!

4 comments:

Paul said...

OMG - I look horrible. Good I shaved today.

Paul said...

I look like Wolverine's retarded brother...

Pound said...

i know when i heard you guys had a 5.8 i was like "babies...."

Tom said...
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