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.
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.