Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I feel the earth move under my feet.

I spent 5 hours in a room with eight plastic, disturbingly life-like dummies this morning, so the day already had a surreal tinge to it (don't worry, in case you don't know I'm a nursing student, not a crazy person who hangs out with dummies).

And then an EARTHQUAKE hit.

I feel like Twitter has already exploded from this today, because like me, people who live on the East Coast don't really expect for the earth to wobble. Obviously I know what an earthquake is. I know the basic mechanics of it. I took two semesters of Geology in college, learned about plates and fault lines and  tectonics and what not.

But holy shit y'all. I was not prepared for the earth to literally quake. One moment I was sitting in class, and the next second I heard a rumble, thought for a second I had somehow missed the giant train track that must run right next to my campus, and then realized that no, this was not a train, nor was I having some kind of seizure. The building around me and the ground beneath my feet was simply moving.

And yeah, yeah, yeah Californians. I know you scoff. You apparently invented earthquakes and eat earthquakes for breakfast and don't even count earthquakes unless they are a 18.6. But I live in Virginia. I think of the ground below me as a solid, stable, dependable friend. So to find it suddenly rumbling beneath me like a freight train was more than a little alarming.

I'm not going to lie. I don't think I'm a disaster person. My head did not clear. I did not look for the exits. I froze and felt nothing but sheer, animal, blinding panic for the brief few seconds where I thought that perhaps the Mayans were not as punctual as we all thought, and in fact the world was ending several months early.

I wanted to crawl under my desk, rock in the fetal position, and cry a little bit. I didn't. I laughed it off with everyone else when it ended. But a few minutes later I realized I had not released my vice-like grip on the edges of the table.

No, I do not like earthquakes. I do not like earthquakes at all. And everyone has been laughing about it now, sure that there was no major damage or injuries, being all self-deprecating like good Richmonders. But I have a suspicion that I am not the only one who experienced a moment of poop yourself panic. Because feeling the ground wobble and shake beneath you is simply something that should not be allowed. It's a complete and utter loss of control, an experience of being utterly at the mercy of the planet beneath your feet.

In other words, absolutely horrifying.

Not enough so to get the class canceled mind you.

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