I have never lived in an earthquake zone. That being said, there was an Earthquake here in Pittsburgh last month-which i didn't feel (I was driving and I never noticed it). I was kind of bummed...Since it was a only mild one I wanted to feel it...but then again feeling a mild earthquake twice while living in non-earthquake areas would kind of be like being struck by lightning twice, right?
My first earthquake took place in an even more unlikely place than Pittsburgh: Florida.
I lived 2 blocks from the beach in a small coastal town (embedded in the larger St. Pete/Clearwater/Tampa area) in a duplex that was up on stilts. Stilts! you say? Yes-but having gone through 2 (category 2) hurricanes sitting inside it I can tell you it is actually very stable. Anyway-the house did vibrate a little when someone moved quickly up the outside steps...or romped next door-or on the Washer's spin cycle...and other times I just won't relate here.
So-one morning, after a late night out, we were sleeping in. I remember the house shaking and it woke me up. I drowsily thought to myself "Oh, we must have neighbors" and "they must have kids" (sidenote: the apartment next door was a seasonal rental and we had neighbors only about 8 weeks total a year). Then I drifted off for a second and then thought "That washing machine is off balance".
That was it. I fell back asleep for a few more minutes, got up and began the day. We went for brunch out-and as we backed out of the driveway I noticed that there were no signs of a neighbor-which struck me as odd but I figured it must have been maids I heard readying the place for renters. We went to brunch, ran errands and got home a few hours later. I turned on the TV and the cable company's news channel Bay News 9 came on by default (the one thing I loved most about our cable company, seriously-a channel devoted to the bay area-that ran 24/7) There was a red warning scroll at the bottom so I glanced at it..took a couple steps..went back and re-read. Apparently, we had slept through an earthquake. It was 6.0 in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and my town had felt it the strongest (a measley 3.5 or so).
I asked my husband if he felt the house shaking that morning-and he did. Then he said, "but we don't have neighbors so it was weird". Yes it was, honey-it was an EARTHQUAKE!
I am glad, in the end, that we basically slept through it. It was not too long after an earthquake caused that devastating tidal wave in Thailand, etc. We lived 2 blocks from the ocean behind us-and across the street from the backwaters so basically a long heavy rain would make those stilts we lived on useful. I know now that the Gulf isn't deep enough for a tidal wave-since the news people went on and on for days about our little earthquake--but I didn't know it that morning. I would have been more than a little worried. In the end, no one anywhere suffered any damage-just a scary moment or two.
I can only imagine what I would have thought if I had woken up that morning and walked outside to find that my house was now beach front (or middle of the ocean) property-or worse-if it was a strong quake that did damage. But it gives me a story to relate when people ask me about living in Florida with hurricanes...I say "and don't forget about the Earthquakes!"