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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Friday, just after 9 a.m. I'm standing in the kitchen with a cup of coffee in one hand and a cordless phone in the other, talking to A. At that hour of the morning I'm often a little tottery, so I hear it before I feel it: that deep, sickening rumble like a continent's bones grinding. Earthquakes used to frighten me when I was a child, but for years now I've been nonchalant about them--part of my own personal myth of it-can't-happen-to-me invulnerability. I step calmly into the doorway as A., a couple miles away in Cascade, asks, "Do you feel that?"

"Dammit, this is a strong one," I reply, as I see one of my dogs running past the kitchen door and the floor lurches underfoot. Then I hear glass smashing. A. is about to say something, but the phone goes dead. Then the power goes out. Another smash. I suddenly have a mental picture of utility poles falling over. Car alarms are going off all over the neighbourhood.

The facts, learned later: 5.8, 15 seconds.

A large picture fell off the bookcase behind my desk. Had I been sitting there, it would have crashed onto my head. Instead it hit the little table next to my desk and shattered its green glass top. In another room, a broken vase. When I get to my office a couple hours later, I find the bookcase in the corner has partly collapsed and an avalanche of books and magazines covers the floor.

2 comments:

oso said...

An excuse to file everything alphabetically! Joking aside, I'm glad that major damage seems to be minimal and that you all are safe.

Mani said...

So I guess my estimation was right...I told my sister I think it lasted about 15 seconds. Man, that's a lifetime in earthquake years.