“Felt a real earthquake” now joins the ranks of “went downhill skiing” and “swam in the Mediterranean” on my list of things I did in 2011 that I’d never done before. Unlike the skiing and swimming, however, I have no desire to repeat the earthquake-feeling experience.
I used the phrase “real earthquake” for a reason. When I was in middle school, we took a class trip up to Syracuse (guys! that’s like over an hour away by bus! what an adventure!) to visit the MOST Museum. The featured exhibit at the time was the Earthquake Room, which my classmates and I had envisioned to be some kind of exhilirating thrill ride. We got there to find a room on a platform that wiggled a little. I remember feeling hugely underwhelmed.
Well, middle-school Meghan, when the entire building you’re in wiggles a little, then wiggles a little more, and you don’t know what the hell is going on, because you’re in Pennsylvania and earthquakes don’t happen in Pennsylvania, that is a completely different story.
I instinctively ran out of the building, with most of the other people in my office. I had learned years ago on Saved by the Bell that you’re supposed to crawl under your desk or stand in a doorway during an earthquake, but that knowledge evaporated when the quake actually hit. (I blame Tori. She was in the earthquake episode, and as she more or less destroyed the show, I block those episodes from memory as much as possible.)
It wasn’t a big deal, in the end. Nothing even fell over, not even a picture frame.
But man, earthquakes are crazy to think about. They’re not like other natural disasters. At least scientists can tell when majorly bad weather is about to hit. Earthquakes just come out of nowhere, and they have the capacity to be incredibly destructive. (Oddly enough, I read this excellent Rolling Stone story on Haiti just last night.) It never really dawned on me how different earthquakes are from other horrible events, but now it has.
Okay, Earth, I’m enlightened. No more building-wiggling, please.