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.


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.

Oswyn 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.