All Shook Up

I took the ferry out to Alcatraz (1999). I zig-zagged down Lombard Street (2001.) I rode a cable car up and down the hills and got shouted at for wearing a Gap sweater by the hippies in the Haight (2005). I drove over the Golden Gate Bridge (last month) and gave a muffin to a homeless man rooting through the trash on Powell Street (last week). But it was this Friday afternoon that I finally had my ultimate San Francisco experience.

Internet, I was in an earthquake.

Well, perhaps in an earthquake is a slight exaggeration---the buildings weren't exactly crumbling around me as I struggled to save my life's possessions (mostly because I don't keep my life's possessions at my office, well, alright then, but it's just the one Jared Leto picture)---and yet it was fairly dramatic all the same. There I was, just tapping away at my computer at 3:45 on Bagel Friday (which soon thereafter, of course, became Earthquake Friday; almost as exciting, though lacking the cream cheese), when BOOM! The building shook once, but violently, almost as if someone had just given it a massive shove. It was sort of like when you get out of your car on the freeway and an 18-wheeler zooms past you: that short, sharp burst of aggression, that sudden jolt that makes your heart dart into your throat.

I looked up---we all looked up---and someone said "earthquake!" and we waited for something else to happen and nothing did. All around the office, people were calling other people saying "did you feel that? did you feel that?" and I called Sean in North Beach and said "did you feel that?" and he said no, actually, he hadn't felt that. And then he said "you know what, though, you sound kind of shaken up. Pardon the pun."

A quick check on the Internet confirmed that the earthquake had actually been a few miles away in Berkeley, a fairly tame 3.4 on the Richter scale. The longtime San Franciscans in the office rolled their eyes. Me, I practically did a tap dance. "That was my first earthquake!" I told anyone who would listen. I considered getting a t-shirt printed. I wondered how hard it would be to contact Mrs. Stagg, my high school geography teacher, and tell her I finally had working knowledge of plate tectonics. Next up, I decided: volcanoes.

1
Meepers
Feb 26, 2007

Oooh! Earthquake! They're actually quite fun when no one gets hurt/damaged - I remember being in ...heh heh...EARTH Science and discussing earthquakes when one actually happened - now that was a lesson to remember. One poor kid actually freaked out and ran outside -the rest of us just sat around going, 'huh...iii..ii..ttsssss annnn ee-ea-rr-rrth-quake." and watching the desks jump up and down.

But you haven't really lived California style until you sit/lie on the sand and watch an aftershock ripple through the sand, feel it go under you, and watch it continue on past you. Glad you're ok!

2
Susie
Feb 26, 2007

You're forgetting the time you THOUGHT you were in an Earthquake in Ikea, when you were sitting in a chair, and it was only a train passing underneath!

3
Sara
Feb 26, 2007

I was in an earthquake once in Illinois of all places. And I did exactly what you did. I called people and then went around saying "That was my first earthquake!" Of course, it was everyone else's first as well, but so what!? I guess you're no longer a novice San Franciscan. Congratulations!

4
geeky
Feb 26, 2007

My first earthquake was a few years ago. It was a 4.5 that originated about 20 miles from our house in Virginia. It wasn't a particularly terrifying experience, just an unsettling one. I mean, the ground and the buildings on it aren't supposed to move like that!

5
Zandria
Feb 26, 2007

I lived in southern California for a year and not once did I experience an earthquake. But, like Geeky, I did experience one in Virginia! I was sitting in the waiting room of a Honda dealership one day, waiting for my oil to be changed, and the building started trembling. Pretty crazy. :)

6
Russ 'rudedog' Parton
Feb 26, 2007

Well shiver me wotsits Hollster, that sounds like an adventure and a half. Cream cheese bagels, Leto, earthquake. Nicey. x

7
liz
Feb 26, 2007

hopefully that will be the worst one you encounter. i lived there for the 1989 quake, which was thrilling and scary at the same time...the best part was that school was shut down for a couple days after.

8
Anne
Feb 26, 2007

I felt them a couple of times when I briefly lived in S. Cal. One was a night and it woke me up. At first I was really ticked because I thought my boyfriend had put another damn quarter in the magic fingers bed, then I realized we weren't at the motel anymore (we had been staying at a hotel in Sacramento that had to have been one of the last ones with those vibrating beds)because the windows were rattling too. I jumped up, he, being the long time Californian, merely stated its numbers according to the richter scale. Turns out the next day when we checked he was almost exactly right.

9
Chiada
Feb 26, 2007

Being a native Californian, I've been through several smallish quakes. Most of them have been the tail ends of larger ones - like the '89 quake, the Riverside one around the same time, and so on. Every once in awhile a pretty good sized one hits nearby, but I've never been in one so big that I'm frightened and my house sustains damage. Not yet, anyways. Evidently there was a big one in the 7's or low 8's in Santa Barbara in the 1920's. So, it's always a possibility. "They" are always talking about being ready for the next Big One. So, I guess I need to stock my garage with water and food and blankets and stuff. Oh, and cash. Pfft, like THAT'S gonna happen.

10
melanie_in_utah
Feb 26, 2007

Ah, scary! Well, I have an irrational fear (really? I can't decide if it's a fear worth having, but everyone I know laughs at me for it) of earthquakes and the only one I was ever in was in 1984, when I was but a smallish child. I don't remember it, but my grandmother put me in the kitchen sink (WHY?) thinking it would be safer that way. Yeah. She hadn't been in too many earthquakes either.

At any rate, congrats on your first earthquake! I'd send you a tee shirt, but I'm hiding under my desk in preparation for when the big one comes to Utah.

11
hillz
Feb 26, 2007

ive had earthquakes all my life (our whole country is a giant fault line) and i love them. people think im nuts, but i reckon why be scared of something you cant control?

after you have been in a few you can start to guess how big they are, how deep and which direction they come from. and you get to know the difference between a roller and a shaker, and which one lasts longer and gets bigger as it goes...

earthquakes are awesome....

12
L.
Feb 27, 2007

SUGGESTION: Next time you write about earthquakes, DO NOT post it above an older post innocently but ominously titled, "Why They’ll Have To Pry My Cold, Dead Body From The Building." (...shudder...)

I grew up in quake-free Connecticut, but except for one year in Manhattan (which has a whole different set of risks), I have lived my entire adult life in seismic hot spots: Tokyo, Los Angeles, Tokyo again, and now San Francisco. Some of us were just meant to live on the edge!

13
Horrible Warning
Feb 27, 2007

I was in high school when the 89 Whittier Narrows quake hit. I was standing outside waiting for class to begin and watched the sidewalk make these huge waves but not crack. Of course, the coolest thing about it was that we spent the rest of the day hanging out on the football field, trying to see who would believe that it was an 8.2.

Scaring punk ass teenagers is fun.

Oh, we used to stand in doorways in case pieces of ceiling or wall decided to fall.

God I miss earthquakes.

14
Melanie
Feb 27, 2007

Awesome!! Congrats on popping your earthquake cherry.

15
janet
Feb 27, 2007

I actually slept through my first (and only) earthquake, which I guess is a good thing. Good luck with the hot lava thing...

16
Gretchen
Feb 27, 2007

Earthquakes, when they are on the small side and not too close, are great fun. There was once a Los Angeles newscaster named Kent Shocknek who was reading the news live on-air when an earthquake struck. He overreacted and dived under the desk, also live on camera, whereupon he was dubbed Kent Aftershocknek and never lived it down.

I am ashamed to tell you that the last good sized earthquake down in these parts (Landers quake in 1999) I totally slept though, on account of having been at an Oktoberfest thingy earlier in the evening.

17
Diane
Feb 27, 2007

I was in Southern California for a vacation a number of years back and was woken up by a earthquake. It felt so cool and unreal - and I totally loved it (in a totally Canadian way as it never happens to anyone who lives in Ontario).

Then I came home and was in my apartment one morning and felt this odd tremor pass through our building. It felt like a large truck had just driven by however I lived on the 19th floor at the time. My roommate came out and was so excited because we just had an earthquake. At that moment, I felt so ripped off. I paid a lot of money for my vacation and the earthquake experience and now they were happening in my own province.

Then I realized that I am an idiot and went back to watching TV. However I still loved the feeling. It ranks right up there with a really good thunderstorm with lots of lightening for me.

18
DM
Feb 27, 2007

This statement right here, this one "There I was, just tapping away at my computer at 3:45 on Bagel Friday (which soon thereafter, of course, became Earthquake Friday; almost as exciting, though lacking the cream cheese)." This is why I love you.

Never been through an earthquake. Really, really close to a tornado, yes. And I live on the 27th floor so thunderstorms are very up close and personal.

19
Liise
Feb 27, 2007

Hey how far away from "Broadway Street" are you and did you see the landslide? EEKA!

20
Daily Tragedies
Feb 28, 2007

Welcome to California! I experienced my first earthquake about three months after moving here...it was quite the quintessential California moment.

21
deb
Mar 01, 2007

My first earthquake came while sitting on a beach in Santa Cruz (had only been living in berkeley a while at that point). I remember a thought running through my head that I wished all the kids running around would just relax so I could chill out and enjoy the day cause all their stomping about was quite annoying. And then it hit me: the beach is not a floor ... kids running around on it will not cause it to vibrate. Cracked me up.

Over the years of living in CA, I went through a couple more quakes that made the blood run cold - even if they weren't The Big One. And every time I'd drive over one of the bridges I'd find myself workin' The Force saying: "The ground is solid; The Big One will not happen now ..."

I really miss CA, but I do not miss 'waiting' for The Big One.