So for the second time in as many years, I've found myself within 100km of an earthquake's epicenter. And also for the second time in as many years, I was terrified. At first, I couldn't even figure out what it was. Then someone helpfully reminded us that someone had sent a suspicious package to the Embassy two weeks ago. Finally, my boss, who lived in Japan for many years said "it's an earthquake. Find a doorway to stand underneath". So we did. And we were fine, mostly. Some of the metallic covers for the sprinklers fell out of the ceiling, but luckily no one was standing right underneath when they fell. After the shaking stopped, we walked out of the building and went to the courtyard across from the Embassy to wait for the "all clear". Having learned my lesson after the last earthquake, I remembered to take my purse with me. Clearly, by that point, I was feeling a lot more sanguine about the situation
For me, there were no real post-earthquake consequences. Others were less fortunate. Some of the city's low-income housing ended up having to be condemned. How it is acceptable in the United States of America to have children and families living inside a building that can't withstand a 5.9 earthquake is beyond me. Truly. Also, schools were shut down yesterday (though in my humble opinion, having kids start school in August is borderline cruel and they should have been shut anyways).
Did I confront death in those few seconds where the source of the shaking was unknown? I guess. The possibility of dying seemed acute but somehow tolerable. I'm glad it was nothing, though. Obviously.
And, as if Mother Nature hadn't been irritating enough, Hurricane Irene is scheduled to hit DC Sunday morning. Hopefully, it will miss and all we will have to show for it is a lot of rain. I'll let you know.