Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Shake Rattle and Roll

Well we didn't have the roll part thank goodness. But I will say it is not often that you get a headline like this in the Washington Post:
5.8 magnitude earthquake rattles Washington

It started as a slight shaking. Sort of like when a big truck rolls by. Only there wasn't any sound. The shaking didn't stop. It intensified. That's when I knew we were having an earthquake. It lasted for about 45 seconds which is a very long time.

Because I'm in a work station, I and the people around me didn't have things move on us as other people did in my office. I stood up and I could feel the shaking. It's a little disconcerting when you stand up and try to be still and you feel the floor move under your feet.

I do have to say that my first reaction to this was it was a terrorist attack. After all the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 is coming up. But the fact there was no sound wave of an explosion lead me to believe rather quickly that it was an earthquake. Also the fact that the shaking continued and got stronger as time went on reinforced that idea.

After the shaking stopped, people started to react. Eventually, we evacuated the building. People immediately got on their cell phones and promptly weren't able to get through to anyone because of course everyone was on their cell phones. After about 15 minutes or so we went back into the building. I used my office phone and was able to call my dad and brother and a couple of my friends. I had no problems.

I stayed and worked for most of the rest of the day. The problem now was how to get home. Metro was running but trains were only going 15 miles an hour. They will do this until all the tracks have been checked. Hopefully things will be back to normal by tomorrow morning.

I decided I would walk home. I went out and saw the chaos that was going on in the streets. Many stop lights were blinking. Most intersections even where police were directing traffic were in grid lock. I'd thought about taking a bus but discarded that because I'd be stuck in all that traffic. So off I went on foot.

I made pretty good time to Union Station. The bars near there were full of people. I think they had decided to wait things out. Get dinner and maybe a few drinks before trying to get home.

I then headed toward the New York Ave. stop. My plan was to pick up the bike path that is there and then walk to Rhode Island Avenue. I stopped off at the Harris Teeter there to cool off. It wasn't very hot but the sun was very strong.

To get to the path, you have to walk right by the New York Ave. Metro stop. I peeked in and took look at the sign telling when trains would arrive in the station. It showed three trains, three 8 car trains no less, arriving at the station in the next 7 minutes or so. I decided to take a chance. I figured, if I couldn't get on any of the three trains, I'd walk home.

The first train pulls in. Not only was I able to get on but I was able to get a seat as well. I figure my walk from work had allowed Metro to catch up with the number of people wanting to get on. Took a little while to get to Rhode Island Ave. because of the speed restriction but I got there. I have to say I think Metro did a really good job of letting people know what was going on.

I walked home and checked out the house. Everything was fine.

And that was my earthquake Tuesday.

1 comment:

Ed Peaco said...

Great post of moment-to-moment experience and details of urban life intensifeid by the weird event — yet restrained by the reality that no one got hurt (in your line of sight, anyway)