Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My First Earthquake

So there was an earthquake yesterday, and I totally felt it.

And initially I was totally over the whole earthquake phenomena and how people were reacting to it, but then Jay1 really put things in perspective for me.

But first, let me tell you about my experience.

So, I was lounging in the penthouse trying to figure out what the day held for me.  I had some responsibilities that needed to be taken care of, but I was completely on the verge of blowing them off when things began to shake.

Now, mind you, I live on the top floor and I was chilling in the loft so I was about as high as you can be in my building and feeling that movement was disorienting and discomforting.

My first thought was that something had struck the building, which I quickly ruled out because it was a sustained shaking.  Then I thought it was construction which was equally shot down because a) I hadn't seen any construction crews when I ventured out earlier in the afternoon and b) there were no sounds accompanied with the shaking.

At that point I pondered that it could be an earthquake but then thought "no, I live in Baltimore, that kind of stuff doesn't happen here."

Obviously it does.

I was pissed that I'd experienced an earthquake in Charm City.  Not only because it was yet another "where where you" moment that I'd had while being in Baltimore, but it was the third different type of natural disaster I'd experienced here.  I'd experienced the blizzard of '03, Hurricane Isabel and then yet another blizzard.  And now an earthquake.

And then when I did venture out I got annoyed.  The mass exodus from downtown was vaguely reminiscent of 9/11.  I was half expecting to see a bottled water guy hawking t-shirts that said "I survived 5.8 in Baltimore" or something to that effect.  And I really felt like people were exaggerating the impact of the earthquake.

I mean, I get it; Baltimore has tons of old decrepit buildings that were built far too long ago, constructed with cheap labor and cheaper material and  probably shouldn't have anyone residing or working in them.

Wait, what was my point again?

Oh, that's right; people were panicked about the earthquake and I really didn't think they should have been.  It was a 5.8 and the epicenter wasn't even in Maryland.  Get a grip.  People in California were laughing at how East Coasters were behaving.

But when I spoke to Jay1, he opened my eyes a bit.  According to him, that earthquake was like a positive 9/11; it was a shared experience, a "where were you" moment that wasn't build on a tragedy.  There was shaking, the earth moved, but there wasn't too much damage or tragedy.  It was something we could look back at without sorrow or sadness.

It was just something that happened, to a bunch of us.  And we were united in our experiencing it.

So, that's what I'm taking away from it.  I'm not going to mock those who, in my eyes, overreacted.  I'm not going to berate the news stations for their barrage of coverage.  I'm just going to savor my experience and share it with the next person who asks me about it.

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