Wednesday, August 24, 2011

City shakes, then blushes

As the sixth floor of our office building swayed like a dandelion in the breeze at approximately 1:51 P.M. yesterday, the first thought that entered my mind was: "Alright, this is the moment you've been training for....time to fight those zombie aliens!"

But it wasn't an uprising by the planet Unetav - yet - it was an uncharacteristic 5.8 magnitude earthquake. Having never felt an earthquake before and knowing how rare they are for the east coast, the idea didn't even make it onto the list of potential catastrophes I though we could be experiencing. Rather, I considered the upcoming ten year anniversary of September 11th and my suspicions that the armed police who occupy the larger metro stations probably aren't searching people's bags for candy.

A day later, the city's reaction has been, frankly, a little weird. Like we're embarrassed we got caught being concerned about our personal safety. I even caught some flack yesterday for not returning to work from an attorney who, immediately following the tremors, I watched wind sprint down the hall past five women, one of whom is seven months pregnant.

Is it really so lame to worry about the possible structural consequences of the strongest earthquake in nearly a century on a city whose foundation is comprised of swampland and tunnels? Can the Metro, which breaks down from wind, rain, and most often no reason at all, somehow be earthquake proof?