Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Obligatory Earthquake Post

I don't think the earthquake was a particularly pleasant or "fun" experience for anyone, but it was quite uncomfortable for most of us who were living in the area during 9/11.

My office is an old Chinese grocery store that was converted into an industrial, loft-ish open office space. We have lots of exposed bricks, hanging light fixtures, visible metal beams, etc. The office is on a fairly busy street and it isn't completely uncommon for a loud truck to go by or feel some construction work.

When the shaking started, my first thought was, "Uh-oh... this is what it felt like when the Pentagon was hit," but then the shaking didn't stop. It suddenly became very apparent that this was something major. Like most natives of the area, "earthquake" didn't cross my mind until after the long 30-45 seconds of shaking subsided. Everyone ran to door frames, and thankfully they vocalized it because I'm not sure I would have known to do that. At one point I remember looking down at a cup of water on my desk and seeing it dance around splashing water, but it never actually tipped over. I think the sound of metal-on-metal vibrations will stick with me for a while.

Once it stopped, we discovered the minor rubble and fallen bricks, and about 5 or 10 minutes after we finally left the building. In hindsight, I have no idea why we all stayed in the office for so long! We stood outside with the rest of Chinatown for some amount of time and then went back in and returned to work.

We didn't go home early, which likely made all of our metro commutes home much smoother. WMATA has its faults, but I was very impressed by the way they handled everything. Trains were operating at 15 mph (down from the usual 50-60 mph) but I didn't have to wait long to catch a train, and it was less crowded than on a normal commute.

All in all, I'd say we were all very lucky. While a magnitude of 5.8 is pretty severe, it was far from devastating and the fact that no one was hurt is absolutely amazing. That being said, I hope to never experience something like that again!

A pretty accurate description, and I think this is my favorite (?) write-up. It sounds weird to be saying favorite when discussing accounts of an earthquake, but I lack the proper vocabulary to find a more fitting word. Loose translation: of everything that I read, this article sticks with me the most.

Because an earthquake isn't enough to set me on edge and make my commute questionable, today there was a stabbing across the street from my office at the metro. It happened around 4:40 and for a while the metro entrance and most of the roads were blocked off. Somehow, I once again lucked out on my commute and the entrance was reopened just as I was packing up. But seriously, World, please don't feel the need to continue this trend tomorrow!

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