TOTT’s building being evacuated

So here’s the thing about earthquakes, when you’re from LA as I am, a 5.9 is good time. I mean, sure it can toss a picture or two off the walls, but that’s not a real damage inducing scary earthquake. More like a “holy crap did you feel that?” kinda thing. You know, with a laugh in your voice as you say it. Yes, we’d head out of our houses, or get into doorways right quick, but nothing less than a 7 is any cause for alarm. We used to joke that the only time you meet your neighbors in LA is when there’s an earthquake.

I moved to Maryland 2 years ago thinking I had escaped earthquakes for good. But nope! The first one a few months ago was literally, actually at the end of our street. My house only 50 yards from the epicenter. Nice.

I’m going to be honest with you, even though I knew immediately what it was, even though I’ve been through bigger and badder ones than this: today’s earthquake scared the ever living crap out of me.

Three reasons:

Reason one: Earthquakes are out of context here.  Our buildings here are not retrofitted for quakes. Our walls here crack. Stone churches cracked! I actually levitated off my bed screaming to my mother in law and the cleaning ladies “EARTHQUAKE! Get to a doorway or get out of the house!” By the time we made it to the front yard our neighbor was also outside freaking out. Why? Well, because we simply do not have them here. And anything unusual is extra scary.

Second Reason: 9/11 I remember thinking and possibly saying out loud to the news “sheesh people it isn’t always terrorists!” when people would say “At first I thought it was an attack” reguarding, well, anything! But now having lived here I understand. When you have lived through planes crashing into buildings and being evacuated and then there’s a big rumble and things start shaking? Well, a bomb isn’t too far a jump for a first conclusion. If there is a giant explosion in Los Angeles we assume it’s just Universal blowing something up for their next big movie. Here, it’s real people trapped and dying, that’s the assumption because that’s what they’ve experienced. Whereas that tell tale rumble means earthquake to me, to many others here and to my husband it meant terror attack. He said he immediatly thought it was a bomb. While this wasn’t an attack by any other other than Mother Nature, it’s easy to see why everyone is so shaken.

Third (and personal) reason: I have small people now. Yes, I worried about my pets during an earthquake pre baby, but cats and dogs usually can feel it coming and take care.  So really during a quake it was just making sure I was safe. Now? More important that my safety is the safety of my two boys. I am afraid I was not too cool and I am certain my screaming scared my 3 year old more than the fact that the lights were swininging back and forth and things were falling off the walls. Now there is the fact that there are two souls, more important than mine to be located and secured.


So, my LA peeps before you start mocking this East Coast swing, try to remember your first earthquake and then magnify that by mob mentality. Sure our reaction might be a bit comical in LA, I know if I was back home and someone was acting like this I might giggle at them but I am telling you…5.9 here in DC is way scarier than in LA.

14 thoughts on “Earthquake!

  1. CNN said that it was very shallow, too, only about 3 miles down compared to a typical, say, 20 miles down. That would mean more shaking for a 5.9 due to the lack of “padding”.

  2. Thank you for writing this I don’t think most people “GET” that Maryland is not built for or used to this type of disaster. I’m a Maryland girl born and raised and lived there from age BIRTH – 28.. and never once felt a quake. I live in Alabama now … and tornadoes freak me out. But an earthquake would scare me too. I’m glad you and the little ones are OK and that most things are OK in Maryland too – I went on a texting spree to be sure my friends and family were OK.

    BE SAFE and put your experience to good use sister! oxox

  3. Thank you for your perspective. It’s definitely that out of context thing AND our buildings are not at ALL equipped to handle them. The building I was in today swayed and rocked terribly. I was telling my kids, who were with me, “just stay calm, it’s a little earthquake, let’s move to the doorway” meanwhile in my head I was all, “ahhh! what the eff is going on?”

    Isn’t it bad enough we have to deal with blizzards and excessive heat? Do we really need to throw earthquakes into the mix?

  4. As someone that was in NYC for 9/11 and watched the second plane hit with bare eyes (not television) I thought we were under attack. Seriously called the husband to see if our “evacuate the city plan” was needed. Never did I think I would be happy to hear that I was in an earthquake.

    So glad I saw your blog!! Cannot wait to read more!! And… I bet Maryland is way better than Akron 🙂

  5. So glad you wrote this – shortly after I posted my own little jib on FB… a totally different perspective and ya know what… makes total sense… thanks for putting the words down.. I didn’t mean any harm… but I def. had a laugh in my voice….

    Gonna share this link for others!

  6. Glad you are all ok! My hubby felt it in his office building in Toronto, Ontario! He said the blinds were banging around, and the building was swaying. Not really the phone call I wanted to get, since I felt nothing just an hour away.
    It is so much scarier when it never happens here, and buildings aren’t built to handle the shaking.
    Great post!

  7. Now I don’t feel like such a wimp for freaking the F* out and running from my dentist’s office to get home. The drive is about a half mile, and I had more focus in that time than any other time in my life. Must. Get. Children. The big thing for me is – I had no idea what to do! I’m from Kansas – I’ve got tornado safety covered. But earthquakes? Not so much.

  8. Pingback: Psychic Preschooler Earthquake Detector « Corey J Feldman

  9. Great post! And, as a fellow Marylander, thank you for making me not feel bad about my absurd behavior during and following the earthquake. I was actually at home at the time, and I assumed, when feeling the rumblings that an airplane was flying too close to my house. But, then, when the rumblings continued I knew it was something else, something serious, so serious that rather than quickly moving to grab my toddler and head outside, I just stared at my windows, hoping that it wouldn’t get any worse. When it ended, I tweeted about being in, what I thought was an earthquake, then, in hearing that my daughter woke up from her nap, went upstairs to make sure everything was okay. I know, I totally sound like a neglectful parent, but I really didn’t mean to behave that way.

    • I don;t think your behavior was absurd at all! I freaked the heck out!!! I think in those situations you just react you don’t think. I know I didn’t!

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