Tuesday, August 23, 2011

So, Did YOU Feel The Earth Move?

I did.

I was sitting on my living room couch, trying to read the newspaper when the paper started shaking.

Then I realized my arms were shaking, too.

At first I thought it was my heart pounding oddly and that its thumping was being felt throughout my body like some weak version of Poe's tell-tale heart.

Then I saw that the completely innocent pedestal fan on the other side of the room was throbbing and bobbing too.

That allowed me to dismiss the thought that I might be starting to have another dizzy spell.

The garbage truck had just picked up our trash and was at the neighbor's but it didn't seem to be doing anything other than sitting there gently idling while the trash guy slowly collected the trash.

Immediately suspecting an earthquake, I went into the kitchen, put some water in a glass, and set it on the counter.

The water rippled a bit instead of immediately settling down as it usual does.

Then it was over.

I noted the time: 1:52pm. Or maybe 1:54pm. We had a brief power outrage this morning and so the clocks on the stove and the microwave and the clock radio were all a bit out of synch with the battery clocks on the walls.

The old saying is true: If you have one clock, you'll always know what time it is. If you have two clocks, you'll *never* know.

I suppose the whole episode lasted 15-20 seconds.

I checked the Internet to see what others might have experienced.

I rather quickly learned that the quake was centered in Virginia but was being felt as far away as Detroit and Toronto.

I had thought it was probably a much more local event. Ohio has been known to shake a bit in the past - especially around Anna in the west central part of the state - so I thought what I had felt was probably one of those extremely minor events.

Or that a bomb had gone off in Columbus or Cleveland, but that seemed not only unlikely but also superfluous. Given the way economic trends have been rapidly devastating the state, why would anyone feel the need to speed things up with a bomb?

So: An earthquake.

And it took the flat-footed Columbus Dispatch more than 20 minutes to confirm the fact on its website. (Honestly, a newspaper is just about the last place these days one should go looking for details about breaking news.)

It's only the second earthquake I've felt in my life.

The first was almost exactly 30 years ago.

In Toledo.

I at first thought that one was caused by a truck, too.

As I sat in my living room.


Apparently, the more things change, the more I don't.

At least this time around I didn't feel that naive, wide-eyed surprise of the young that seems so humorous in retrospect.

Who knows? Maybe when I feel my next earthquake 30 years from now, I'll actually be able to write about it in a semi-insightful way.

After I finish using a straw to suck up my lunch of creamed corn and apple sauce, of course.


  1. When I first moved into my house I felt the earth move quite a bit because city crews were dynomiting bedrock a couple of blocks away in order to bury the water lines deeper so they wouldn't freeze.
    The shockwaves sounded and felt just like a truck zooming up the driveway and slamming into the house.
    No real earthquakes tho. There was an earthquake in Kentuck or New Madrid or some place like that late in the 80s that people said they could feel here, but I didn't. The only person I know who said he could feel it said the legrest on his recliner started swinging back and forth while he was reading and he wondered wtf it was and he decided later it was the earthquake, after he heard about it.
    I bought several clocks that re-set their own time from internal CMOS clock chips after power outages, so I am always pretty sure what time it is. They were programmed with the US daylight saving time rules which was great until Congrefs changed the rules in an energy bill instead of actually making an energy policy.

  2. Juicy this?
    Who would have thought they would land in the Andes?

  3. "For God so loved Darwin that He sent an Earthquake to show how He had built the Andes."

  4. I totally missed it. I think we were driving at the time.

    There was an earthquake a couple years ago (from Illinois, I think) that made all the pulls on our dresser shake in the middle of the night. Probably would have slept right through it if we had a different dresser.

  5. That this happened around my own home town of Washington, DC, simply shocked me beyond belief! Funny, though, your reactions mirror what I recall from my first earthquake. I can only recall feeling 3-1/2. The first was in my living room, the second and third at two different work places, and the "1/2" out on the road.

    Mmmmm... applesauce!