The only other earthquake I’d ever felt was the second time I ever went to Angela’s house. When I felt the walls shake a bit on that occasion–since I’m a Colorado boy–I assumed the most logical conclusion: the washing machine must be off balance on the spin cycle.
Well, evidently someone was spinning a huge-ass load of clothes yesterday, cause everything shook quite a lot. I was at the bank during my lunch hour, since my debit card had been mysteriously deactivated. When the room started bouncing around, I looked up and saw a huge, dripping Air-Conditioning unit above my head and thought, “This doesn’t look good.” I didn’t know what to do, however. Was I supposed to stay put? To run? To stand in a door frame? To stand in the middle of the room? Do you die if you’re inside or outside during an earthquake? For a moment, I even had a mental message flash in my head that said, “Find a doorframe or, barring that, a basement, a bathtub, or a ditch.” But wait, wasn’t that what to do when there’s a tornado? Man, natural disasters are confusing.
Everyone else in the bank was running toward the door, so I followed them. I at least seemed to remember that you’re supposed to be calm in a disaster, so I was walking, but not too slowly, lest I be the only dumbass caught inside. I can’t imagine the shame of knowing that my cause of death was getting crushed by an A/C unit at a mall.
So, I went outside with everyone else until the rumbling and shaking stopped about a minute later. I didn’t know what to do, but since a few people were headed back into the mall, I did, too. After all, I had taken a number, and I wasn’t about to lose my place in line.
After about another 40 minutes of waiting, I finally talked to a teller and got my debit card reactivated. I was headed back to work on foot, and I figured I’d take a shortcut through a department store. But the department store was closed with a big, fat chain on the glass door handles. In fact, all the other stores were closed, too. As I went outside, I noticed a ton of people milling about. Could the four of us that went back into the bank have been the only idiots around?
As I walked back to the commercial park where I work, the DHL building’s employees were outside, enjoying a nice smoke in the sun. And so were all the employees of all the other businesses in the park, including the call center where I work. Crap! I had wasted my whole lunch hour at the bank, only to find out that I was missing the opportunity to Hang Around Outside! For an office employee, that’s like getting strep throat on a snow day!
So, for the next couple of hours–until I left work at 4, actually–people were kept outside while engineers inspected the buildings. There were minor damages, mostly involving ceiling tiles and other random crap falling, so we were pretty lucky. In many other parts of the country there were injuries, destroyed roads and houses, and even 15 or so deaths, mostly by landslides.
This is a weird post anyhow, so I’m not quite sure how to end it. I guess, let’s just hope the next one is small, and that everyone stays safe.
Until then, hold on.