My dogs suddenly looked disturbed as I sat at my desk writing. I looked up and wondered if they had to go pee. I just took them out an hour ago, I thought. Then, I heard a familiar jingling sound. I don’t know how else to describe it. I knew what was next; I was born and raised in California.
Earthquake, I said to myself. The house began to moan and then it started to slightly shake. Then there were two jolts among the shakes. The dogs started barking and looked alarmed. I have been trained from a young age to get under a door jam during an earthquake. I’ve never quite bought that because if the house falls down will the door jam really save you? And, when the dogs are totally freaked out how in heck do I get a 100 pound boy and 65 pound girl to stay under a door jam with me??
I’m the Accidental Texan, really I am, and I knew there would be lots of new things when I moved here. Many Texans told me about Tornedos, but no one mentioned earthquakes and I just assumed we didn’t have them here.
On jolt number one it occurred to me that this could be like something I’ve experienced in my past so I jumped from my office chair to an earthquake ready position. Unless you are from earthquake country, you probably have no idea what that is. That position is something like a quarterback ready to receive a hike. (You know, “HIKE, HIKE, GO!” and that one guy throws the football under his butt to the waaaay toooo cute quarterback who is married to a waaaaay toooo gorgeous skinny model.)
In an earthquake, just like with a quarterback who catches the ball in a hike, the next question that pops in your mind is what the hell do I do now?!? So, as I stood in earthquake ready position I asked myself that question. I have a “safe room” in a closet under the stairwell for tornedoes so that’s where I decided to go. The dogs love it in there because I have trained them that it’s a fun place and there are treats! The earthquake never took on California proportions and was over quickly. It took the dogs a while to settle down and I finally continued to write.
Over the next couple days, what utterly amazed me was what a big deal Texas made over an earthquake that measured 3.5 on the Richter Scale! It was on the front page of the newspaper, on the morning shows, on talk shows and Texans talked about it at the grocery store. They talked about the emotional devastation, the fear and the beloved trinkets lost to the natural disaster. In California, this wouldn’t have made the last page of personal ads. (Do personal ads still exist? Am I dating myself on my on blog? One of the reasons I’m blogging is to stay current, sniff. Is it all Match.com now?? I was married long before electronic dating started!)
I’ve been in 4 major earthquakes in my life. The first one was in 1971 and I was 12 years old. My whole family was sleeping at 6:01 am. First the jingling and then suddenly utter chaos as the force built. In these huge earthquakes, everything shakes so dramatically you think the planet is being thrown off its axis. The end of the world occurs to you. It’s all you can do to crawl to a door jam hoping you don’t get hit from the things flying across the room as you hear dishes and glasses crashing to the floor from the cupboards in the kitchen. You find yourself screaming for your loved ones in other parts of the house. It is utterly terrifying. The 1971 earthquake measured 6.7 on the Richter Scale. Here are a few photos of the devastation.
I hope to God no one was in that Chevrolet. Obviously with earthquakes of that magnitude, electricity goes out, entire towns and cities are shut down for days or weeks and it takes a tremendous toll on emotions, costs and industry.
I hope I’m not messing with Texas, but these Texan 3.5’s are calves while California 6.7’s are Longhorns.