Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Writer's Workshop: Earthquake (and not where you would expect one)

I have decided to give a go at a Writer's Workshop because *wow* do I need to work on my blog writing. 

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!"

1 comment:

  1. Earthquakes are scary! I didn't know that Florida didn't normally get them. They're pretty rare here in Washington too.