Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Whole Lot of Shaking Goin' On.

Preface: this is going to be a long bugger, so you may want to go get a sandwich and use the powder room before beginning.

The East Coast had an earthquake today. A 5.8ish to not be exact.

Let me tell you about my day. Normal day, normal stuff. La, la, la. Then just before 2pm the building started to shake.  We have a lot of construction going on in our building so at first I thought it was just some building improvement action. But then it didn't just stop, but got stronger.

As sad or frightening as it is to think about, the reality of DC is that when your building starts to shake, your first thought is not that it is an earthquake. Your first thought, or I guess second, if the construction thought has already come and gone, is that your building has been hit. A bomb. A plane. Thank God, this was not the case.

I grew up in Southern California, so I have been in a lot of earthquakes, small and big. That doesn't make them less scary. Hello. The. Earth. Is. Shaking. But what it does mean is that you have experience and the knowledge of what to do somewhere filed in the back of your head.

By the time the big shaking was happening, my brain finally caught up. The first rule of being in an earthquake is to wait until it stops shaking. As soon as the rumbling stopped, I grabbed my bag and and as the locals somewhere say, I got out of Dodge.  I didn't wait for the emergency sirens to go off, or for the chain of command to let me know I could leave my desk. I left my desk, out the door, down the stairs, across the foyer, out the main door, across the street and to the park. I clustered with my office mates until it was determined that it was going to take hours for our building to be cleared for re-entry, and we were sent home.

Home. Across the river home. And Metro was down. Of course, Metro was down, I mean, it is Tuesday. So, what to do? Queues for buses and taxis were already starting to form. I'm too impatient.  I also didn't like the thought of just waiting around for the trains to start running again. Who knows when that could be? And when they did start to run, half the city would be cramming themselves in the cars. No thanks. So I started to walk. I knew I had a friend in the Rosslyn area that was home, I knew I could crash there.

I work in the Capitol Hill general area, so this little afternoon walk would be around 5 miles. It was pointed out to me I walked almost the exact route of my upcoming, 10k. So this whole earthquake, was in reality, the Universe's way of keeping me up with my training. Yeah, the world does revolve around me.

But if there was ever a perfect day for an apocalyptic walk through the nation's capitol, today would be it. The weather was lovely, especially for August, I had comfortable shoes on, plenty of music on my ipod, and even though phone coverage was a little spotty, I could still text. God bless whoever invited texting, and everyone that kept me company on my trek.

Actual texts:
Me to 3/4 of my contact list: Holy, holy crap.
[good thing this wasn't a real disaster, those are not the most romantic or dignified last words]
Me: You know those end of the world films where people roam the streets aimlessly? Yeah, that's me, today. I am pretty sure that I will be attacked by a zombie any minute now.

The General: This will teach you to be in a disaster movie without me.
[The General is a huge, I mean ridiculously huge, fan of disaster films]
Speaking of zombies, during my little walk through the city I came to the realization that the first group of Washingtonians to turn into crazed zombie like creatures scavenging the city, most likely to turn to cannibalism,  would be Congressional staffers, hands down.

So I walked, and walked, get a little tan and enjoyed the city.  Did some people probably over react? Maybe a little, but this is DC. As much as I love this city, we do have the tendency to over react to anything that changes our collective daily routine. Snow, for example, throws us off every year. What is this magical white stuff falling from the sky?

 I think that I have gotten used to it all, the constant talk of the end of civilization as we know it. But no matter what you see on tv or in the news about the quake, yes we did freak out a little bit, but there was no looting, no blood, nothing on fire, people for the most part, took a deep breath and got on with their lives.

Pictures from along my walk:
Crossing the Memorial Bridge

Walking past Arlington National Cemetery

Following the parade of young professionals 

 Passing Iwo Jima

And when I finally met up with my friend, we went and got milkshakes, in celebration of the world not ending! Also, the my soulmate was sitting at the next table over. He was wearing a blazer with elbow patches AND was reading a book.
And any day that ends with milkshakes can't be that bad.

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