I’m sure most of you have heard that the East Coast was hit by “the big one” yesterday. That’s right, we had ourselves our very own honest-to-goodness earthquake. A magnitude 5.8 on the Richter scale. Its epicenter was 9 miles south of Mineral, VA. The earthquake was felt as far north as Canada and as far south as Florida. The sensation was described many ways by my friends, family, and co-workers. They said it felt anywhere from violent shaking to ground rolling. Personally, I felt as though I was on a boat that was drifting over the wake of another boat. The whole experience lasted all of 30 seconds. Cue the Law and Order style dramatic segue…
1:51 PM, Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Hangar 110, Cubicle de Jen, Earthquake Part 1
At first, I thought a forklift must have hit the wall outside my office, then as the waves intensified and my monitors started wobbling, I knew something else was going on. But I couldn’t wrap my head around it out because I’d never been through this type of natural disaster. The fire alarm started going off and I looked across a jiggling bookshelf to my boss’s desk as she was jumping up and yelling, “Run!” She didn’t have to tell me twice. I jumped up off my ball chair and looked around, thinking, “I have to save my pictures!” So I grabbed my purse and took off like a shot. Well, I hobbled as fast as I could (I hurt my knee last week). It felt like I was running in a dream. You know, where you feel like you’re wading through molasses? I hobbled to the door and down the stairs to the lower parking lot.
1:54 PM, Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Hangar 110, Lower Parking Lot, Earthquake Part 2
As I arrived at the lower parking lot, I remembered that I was going to, “Save the pictures!” You know, because that’s what you grab first in the event of a natural disaster. Instead, I had my purse, no pictures, and, I quickly discovered after a cursory search, no cell phone. I’d left that locked up in the aggravating wall lock thingamabob. We’re not allowed to have our phones or any outside electronics in our workspace. We have to lock them up in a little post office box looking thing. I couldn’t call Dan or my Mom to let them know I was okay. I also wanted to know if Dan was alright. He works in a rickety building near the water and I wanted to make sure it didn’t get sucked into the freaking Chesapeake Bay. I work near the Patuxent River but, luckily, we didn’t slide in. Because… pictures! Duh. I don’t want to lose my completely illegal photocopy of the photographer’s picture of me and Dan on our wedding day or the caricature of my mom and her cats! And what about my snow globes?? I’m so glad our building didn’t sink into the river. Whew.
1:59 PM, The Gathering, Lower Parking Lot, Earthquake Part 3
As we all gathered and went over the events of the last 5 minutes, we started swapping embarrassing holy-crapola-I-was-scared-half-to-death stories. I told the story of the “snake” in my bathroom that caused me to dribble pee all the way from one end of it to the other. Turns out it was a shoebox lid sliding. Hey, it sounded like a hiss. And apparently, the phrase “scared the piss out of me” is a trusim. Thank Jebus I didn’t have to take a shit. Anywho, a co-worker of mine told the story of his wife discovering a “snake” in her flower bed. She saw what she thought was a snake, jumped up, started crab-walking backwards and screaming, “Oh, my God, it’s a snake! Oh, my God, it has legs!” Apparently, snakes don’t have legs. Who knew? Snake-like creatures with legs are called salamanders. Whatever. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to. I totally would have peed all over myself if I’d been in her shoes. And why do people’s scariest stories always involve snakes? Because they’re the actual devil, y’all. That’s why. That’s my PSA for the day. You’re welcome.
2:04 PM, Randomly Milling About in the Lower Parking Lot, Earthquake Part 4
Now, this whole time, the hangar’s fire alarm had been going off. It’s an ear-splitting electronic double-buzz that can peel the paint off passing freighters. We were all jumpy and we’d determined that up to that point only two of us had been through an earthquake before. Those two people were acting all nonchalant, and not offering any of us earthquake virgins any sort of advice or soothing words. Assholes. As the experienced members of the panicked party, they were responsible for setting the tone. Since they failed miserably, the tone was OHMYGODWE’REGOINGTOFREAKINGDIE! After 10 more minutes of listening to the unearthly squeal of the fire alarm, it suddenly stopped. People started to reenter the building. Grown men were sobbing (not really) and shaking (really). Our group just looked around at each other, shrugged our shoulders, and proceeded to go back to our desks. Talk about anticlimactic. *dud*
2:14 PM, Back to Cubicle de Jen or (as I like to call it) The Armpit of the Hangar, Earthquake Part 5
As we started getting settled back into our areas and evaluating the non-existent damage, my phone started ringing. Oh, look! Someone cares about me! It was Dan, checking up on me. He said they noticed it too and were just chilling in their space. Talk about some macho bullshit. I sent an e-mail to my mom and one of my friends in Houston to let them know I was alive. Not that they knew I had been through something that could have killed me, but whatever.
2:35 PM, At Least My Mom’s Boyfriend Loves Me, Earthquake Part 5
My mom’s boyfriend, Lamar, called me to see if I was okay and to ask about the earthquake. He was very sweet and concerned. I told him we were all okay and were all excited by the event. He was curious to know what it felt like so I described to him how it felt to me. He started to say his “thank goonesses” and “gotta get back to works” when I started hollering, “Wait! Lamar?!” And then I proceeded to interrogate him about why he wasn’t going to Mexico next May for my 10th anniversary. Muah ah ah… He was very non-committal and tried to use my semi-step brother as an excuse, but I was having none of it! I reminded him that Austin would be 17 and that he could stay with either his brother or his sister (both much older) and drive himself to school. He tried to back-pedal, but I think I made my point. Poor Lamar got his first real peek at my only child complex rearing its ugly head.
2:45 PM, Really, Mom? You Still Haven’t Called? I Could Be Dead!, Earthquake Part 5
I finally called my mom after I realized she wasn’t going to call. Sheesh! What’s a girl gotta do to keep the drama going?! I called her office and she finally got on the phone and asked how I was doing and if Dan was okay and telling me how she sent a text because she wasn’t sure we would have telephone service because her typesetter Jeannie’s sister lives 10 miles away from the epicenter and they’ve been trying to reach her on the phone and they can’t and oh my god what if she’s buried under rubble and.. Wait, what? Yeah, her freaking typesetter’s sister, who is from Houston, like me, lives 10 freaking miles from the epicenter of the second largest earthquake to have ever hit the East Coast. Bitch hijacked my natural disaster. After I got over myself, I offered to try to call her sister just in case it was an issue with landlines from the south or blocked cell towers or whatever. Needless to say, I got an e-mail 5 minutes later telling me the sister had called and she and her family were all fine. So, can I have my natural disaster back, please? Thanks.
2:55 – 6:05 PM, My Boss Thought She Was Having Vertigo, Earthquake Part 5
We began to compare earthquake stories, like we all weren’t there together, and my boss revealed that she thought she was having vertigo when the earthquake struck. It wasn’t until she looked around and noticed that everyone else had looks of disbelief and fear that she realized it wasn’t just in her head. So, I concluded that she needed an “earthquake indication device.” And last time I checked, the best thing for that was a bobble head. And Jay had a bobble-head doll at his desk that she could borrow. Of course he did. We’re an eclectic bunch! After that crisis was averted, we spent the rest of the afternoon refreshing the US Geological Survey website to ensure we weren’t in imminent danger of getting shaken again. Although, I must admit I was hoping for an aftershock so I could use the “shaken, not stirred” line I’d had in my head since it freaking happened. People were highly animated anticipating the horrors that awaited them on their commutes home. We found out that bridges were closed, then those bridges were opened. The tension was palpable. Not really, but I love the word “palpable” and wanted to work it into this post somehow.
6:27-9:35 PM, I Survived!, Earthquake Part 5
On my way home, I received a text message from Dan asking me what I was doing after work and if I wanted to go to Russell’s Bar with him and our good friends Ricky and Krisy. Of course, I answered him with an enthusiastic “Hell Yeah!” If anything called for Miller Time, it was an earthquake. I pulled in front of the garage and moved around to the passenger side. We met up at Russell’s and swapped stories about where we were and what we were doing when “the big one” hit. We had a few beers, some snack mix and then went home to try to wind down after a very exciting day.
Look at the big dork on Jen
You thought I was joking about the pictures and snowglobes, didn’t you? Yeah, well, suck it. I totally have snowglobes from Reno, Atlantic City and Las Vegas on my desk as well as a bootleg photocopy of a copyrighted picture from my wedding and a caricature of my mom with her cats. Yep, that’s how I roll.
Oh, and you West Coast mofos who’re making fun of us East Coast weenies for getting all excited about our little shaker can kiss my fat, white ass. The only thing exciting to happen on the West Coast yesterday was Will Smith finding Jada Pinkett screwing around on him with Marc Anthony. Of all people. You can keep that shit. I’ll take our wimpy little earthquake over that crap any day.
Now, step off, bitches.
So, do you have any good earthquake stories? Let’s hear them!
Also, I changed the theme again. Let me know what you think about this one.