March 2nd, 2006

(no subject)

My First 2.9.

"The first two were centered about 2 miles southwest of Orinda and shook the region within minutes of each other. The first temblor was recorded at 11:24 a.m. and was measured at 2.8 magnitude by the U.S. Geological Survey. The second, measured at 3.4, followed at 11:34 a.m.

The third quake, a 2.9 magnitude event, occurred at 10:08 p.m. and was centered 2 miles southeast of Berkeley."

-SF Chronicle

"Whoa, who's pushing on our house? Stop pushing on our house!" I remember thinking for the full one second the shaking lasted. When it stopped, I realized that nobody was shaking our house the way it felt like there was, and I looked at Bob wide-eyed and in disbelief. We marveled at the survival of our first earthquake.

They say "the big one's coming," and I guess I believe them, but not to a paranoid extent. It's logical, considering all we know now about San Francisco and how prone it is to being completely annihilated at any second. I guess that's the payoff for living in such an incredible place, and I guess that's what serves as the deciding factor in why many people choose not to come here: the fact that any moment, you'll die. You'll be living your wonderful life in the most wonderful city known to man, and suddenly the ground will cave beneath you, buildings will topple over you, and there will be nothing left of it all over again. There's no predicting it. There's almost no avoiding it. There's only an expectation that by being blessed with all the unbelievable things San Francisco has to offer, you have to in turn eventually deal with its one fatal downside. Honestly, I'd rather die in an earthquake than a tornado or speedboat accident or cancer of the face, but I have to admit, a 2.9 magnitude earthquake all the way outside Berkeley, although tiny and no longer than one second, was much scarier than I had imagined earthquakes being. I had never felt one before. I figured the ground would shake, but I guess there's really no way of assuming quite what that feels like, and the idea of someone outside literally pushing on our house briefly, or perhaps in the future until it falls over completely, is more frightening than I guess I had anticipated.

To top things off, I realized just how much it was going to suck when the big one actually came. I sat back in my chair and contemplated my first earthquake; a tiny, completely harmless earthquake that had knocked nothing off the shelves, left all walls standing, and hadn't even lasted long enough for me to realize what it was while it was still going on. Regardless, I stopped for a second and looked at the computer screen that I was now lounging back in front of. I had been doing Photoshop. Tedious, mind-numbing, outline-tracing, Photoshop. Earthquakes are completely unpredictable, and upon noting that, I realized I'd probably feel the shakes of the big one while sitting at my IKEA desk with a computer mouse in hand, doing homework for school, rather than the wicked awesome act of adventure that everybody hopes to go out on.

"So... is that what it's like?" I asked Bob. "Like someone's pushing on the house?"

"Well, yeah," he said. "Only then the floors cave in and everything falls on us and we die."