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How I Survived a NYC Earthquake

August 23rd, 2011 · 11 Brilliant Opinions · Random Things That Make Me Smile

I was at work around 2 in the afternoon and feeling particularly grumpy because I hadn’t eaten lunch.  Then I felt the exam room move and a sensation that I was spinning.  I felt nauseous.  I looked up and noticed some equipment on the wall was shaking.  I turned to my patient’s mother and asked, “Did you feel that?”  She nods yes and tries to stand and  do a “Flo Jo” dash out of the room.  I said, “No don’t panic.  Its probably an earthquake but lets make sure a terrorist did not explode a bomb in the subway.”

  1.  I intercom my secretary and told her to call 311.   My instructions –  “Make sure its not Al-Qaeda.”   (She’s my version of the FBI)  She had felt the tremors but didn’t want to alarm anyone.
  2.  I call my babysitter to check on the kids.  Lines are not working.  Oh, I remember the text message feature.  I text her to tell her to call me at the office – NOW.  She does.  Kids are fine.  They felt nothing but she felt like she was sitting on top of the washing machine during the spin cycle.   Buttons the cat (who tried desperately to warn me of the tornado last fall) is also calm.
  3. I text Big P in Grenada.  “Small earthquake here.”  No response.  He tells me later he got the message but was “busy” and didn’t know what I meant.  Show of hands people, “Do you know what an earthquake is?” SMH
  4.  Listen to NY1 in the office after seeing my patients.  Mayor Bloomberg is now a seismologist and is explaining earthquakes to New Yorkers. Oh Jeez.  I tell the girls to be careful on the way home. Don’t want them to fall into any craters on the sidewalks!  (Now the news terrorists are working everyone into a frenzy.)
  5.  Get home, start dinner.  Tweet my dear neighbor who goes camping with her family.  Perhaps we can camp out in the backyard. I don’t want this 200 year old Brownstone collapsing on me.  What did Bloomberg say about aftershocks?  Perhaps I should have stopped rolling my eyes long enough to listen to his press conference.
  6.  Glass of  Beringer White Zinfandel.  Too sweet for my taste… but hey….I just survived an earthquake.   Ok survivors, I want details… where were you and what were you doing  when the quake hit?

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11 Comments so far ↓

  • Selfish Mom

    I was home. I felt nothing! Didn’t know about it until I saw tweets (welcome to 2011). Then our neighbor called to ask if he was the only one.

    O & I went through a much bigger quake when we lived in Chile. It woke us up and seemed to last forever – long enough for us to have a big conversation about whether we should be outside or inside. And you know what? I still can’t remember! I think…in doorways? Or is that for hurricanes and tornadoes? When are you supposed to be in the bathtub?

  • Ann

    I think you are supposed to hide under a table… to prevent being pummeled to death by bricks and concrete. It made me think of my “Go Bag”. You know the one with emergency supplies, a crank radio, flashlight, deed to the house, insurance information etc. Hmmm… haven’t gotten around to making one. FEMA even recommends having enough food and water for 3 days. Silly me… I had a hard enough time getting dinner together without Big P around.

  • Selfish Mom

    My go bag is full of chocolate. Clearly you want to be with me in an emergency.

  • Ann

    This is why we can’t get any respect from the folks in California who have to deal with “real” quakes all the time 🙂

  • Darbi

    I was trying to take a nap when I got a text from my friend about the earthquake. I didn’t feel a thing. I don’t have a “go” bag either. I need to go shopping tomorrow to get groceries in case hurricane Irene hits us on Sunday. Need to have chocolate on hand…lol

  • Ann

    Darbi – It’s amazing to me how many people didn’t feel a thing. One woman told me she was eating with her daughter when the quake hit. Her daughter felt it … but she didn’t. I should have asked her where she was eating … must have been good.

  • Selfish Mom

    OK, I just checked, and the correct answer is: get under a table or desk. Stay away from exterior walls, chimneys, and appliances.

  • Ann

    Hmmm… kind of glad I didn’t know that. Would have been a little awkward pushing that 6 year old out of the way while I scrambled under my puny computer desk.

  • Selfish Mom

    That just made me snort.

  • Natasha

    We live in MD and definitely felt it! Took a few seconds to realize what it was. Thought they were just doing construction on the building I work in. They made us evacuate as all the exterior walls are glass. Could see the lightposts and cars in the parking lot moving. Couldn’t help but have flashbacks of 9/11. Glad it was just an earthquake.

  • Ann

    Isn’t it awful. Post 9/11 is my frame of reference for any possible catastrophe. If I hear a car back up, I’m jumpy.

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