Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Little Bit of Shakin' Goin' On

We had an earthquake today. It apparently centered near Norman, roughly 100 miles away, but I felt it shake my house quite firmly with one hard jerk, as if someone had dropped something immensely heavy right next to the house. One moment, everything's normal. The next moment, my stomach drops and the ground convulses. Another moment later, the ground is still, but there's stuff rattling on the shelves.

News reports put the quake between 4.3 and 4.5, although we apparently got less than that out here. But it reminded me of living in California, and even a little bit of living in Tennessee.

We didn't get quakes in Tennessee that I remember, but living near the back 40 of Fort Campbell, the walls of our trailer would shake when they did artillery exercises. You would hear a distant boom, then the pictures on the walls would rattle.

Kim was the first person I thought to call, of course, and she said it reminded her of when we lived in Monterey. I only vaguely remember a quake in Monterey, a minor rolling of the ground while I was walking somewhere.

I remember a couple of quakes in Los Angeles more clearly. The first was during the series finale of M.A.S.H. The people in the apartment above ours were having some sort of get-together, and every so often, a loud thump could be heard coming from the ceiling. It was annoying and distracting. And at some point, there was this big THUMP that felt almost as if the entire building had been lifted a few inches off the ground and then dropped. I cursed and said, "What the hell are they doing up there?"

And my roommate said, "That wasn't them. That was an earthquake."

And we looked out the windows, and sure enough, people all over the apartment complex were coming outside to natter about what had happened.

That was the first time I really felt one. The next time, I was in bed, coming out of a dream. The bed was jerking from side-to-side like one of those vibrating motel beds. And there was a rhythmic squeaking sound like someone was having sex on a noisy bed just off to my left. I opened my eyes and saw in the early morning light that the metal utility shelves I used to hold my paperbacks were doing the shimmy. I realized that this was an earthquake, but it wasn't violent like the last one. It was almost soothing, and I, not being really awake, felt no real fear at all. I stayed in bed, enjoying the ride, and when the squeaking stopped, I went back to sleep.

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