Monday, April 28, 2008

Earthquake Stories


This morning at 4:33, Gary and I were woken up by a 4.2 quake. The walls rattled, but nothing fell over, and we managed to get back to sleep.

People were swapping stories at school, of course. My workshop class had a lively conversation about the reaction of pets, both to these earthquakes and to others (several of my students have gone through big earthquakes in California). There was the cat who kept pouncing on the floor, trying to catch the earthquake; the cat who ate steadily and obliviously through the earthquake; the cat who threw up for twelve hours straight after the earthquake -- poor kitty! -- and the five cats who became giant bristling furballs and then "slowly deflated," after which all five of them made a frantic dive for the foodbowls and commenced stress eating.

One of my students has friends whose fifty-gallon fish tank broke, soaking their living room and killing several of the fish. He also said that there were gas leaks on his street. A student whose daughter is epileptic said that now she knows how her daughter feels when the uncontrollable shaking starts.

I was glad to learn that I wasn't the only person who was freaked out and super-jumpy. That seems to have been a fairly common reaction.

This evening, Gary and I went to the supermarket and chatted with our checkout lady about the quakes. She and her manager were the only people in the store -- which is closer to the epicenter than our house is -- when the Friday night quake hit. She said bottles were shooting off the shelves. The store lost thousands of dollars of stock, and the clean-up was a hideous, smelly, slippery mess, especially in the liquor department. They had to use snow shovels to clean up all the broken glass.

Luckily, a lot of employees who weren't working showed up to help with the clean-up. Good for them!

Gary and I had noticed that bottles were now positioned well away from the edge of shelves, and also that bottled water was very scarce. Evidently the store ordered immense amounts of bottled water, but hasn't been able to keep it in stock.

I've also been keeping my gas tank as close to full as possible, just in case something happens and gas stations aren't working for a while. I haven't noticed unusual lines at the pumps, though.

And, of course, there were lots of people who didn't feel a thing during any of the earthquakes, and couldn't figure out what the fuss was about. Lucky them!

1 comment:

  1. Susan, this whole situation sounds traumatic. I've seen similar shopping patterns and preparations during hurricane season. For everyone's sake I hope these things end soon and that no one gets seriously hurt. Prayers are ascending.

    I'm also wondering if earthquakes will end up in some book or short story of yours. Sounds like you've got first hand experience. :)

    Hugs!

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