Earthquake!! Yes, I was here in D.C. when the East Coast Earthquake of 2011 hit, in training for Baghdad. We were on a short break between sessions when we felt a rumble, kind of like a train going by. Then the building started shaking a lot and we realized this was, in fact, an earthquake. I sat back down in my chair and waited for the shaking to stop. Nobody panicked, we just waited. There was no damage in the classroom – nothing fell off walls or ledges. Soon, the evacuation alarm went off and we grabbed our stuff and went out to the quad. As we were walking out, one of my classmates jokingly quipped, “I think we’re all too distraught to go back to class.” I laughed, but didn’t figure that would fly with the class coordinator, as we are all on our way to Iraq – if we can’t handle a little earthquake, we have no business going to a war zone. In this world of instant information, we knew it was a 5.8 magnitude before we even got outside. We were outside for all of maybe 5 minutes when they let us back in. Class went on as usual. As the day went on, I could feel more rumbles in the ground – aftershocks.
So, of course, cheesy earthquake-related pick up lines started flying. Some include “Let’s make like tectonic plates and grind against each other” and “you’re a 9.5 on the Richter Scale of sexiness.” “Wanna come play on my fault line?” “I was thinking of you and the earth started shaking.” These were just a few that we came up with.
This was my first earthquake. Did I panic? No. Was I worried? No, I was only worried that the shuttle I was taking wasn’t running – I heard someone say it wasn’t – because I would have had to figure out how to get back to my hotel otherwise, and I wasn’t wearing walking shoes. Fortunately, it was running on schedule, so there was no reason to fret. And life goes on here as normal. Next week – my crash/bang course, where I get to ram cars and shoot guns! Watch out West Virginia!