On August 23, 2011 at 1:49 PM Eastern Time, I was sitting at my dining table — up on a seventh floor — talking on the phone and staring at my computer when I felt the earth move.
Something was shaking the table. It was not a violent shake, but strong enough to cause a heavy item, like a table, to slide. I looked down under it and then behind me to see what was going on, but there was no visible sign of anything or anyone suddenly deciding to scare me. The heater/air conditioner in my 1920s apartment complex is a giant box, and it was right behind me. When I looked back, it was moving and it felt as if it was pushing me against the table. That was impossible.
My very first thought: this has to be a ghost! I could not assume anything less only five seconds in the shake — and in a super old building like this one. Then, I thought maybe Maintenance was doing construction downstairs. But when I looked around, everything was moving. How can a well-built brick-walled heavy metal building be moving like this? At that point, my heart rate was taking off. Thus my immediate reaction was to run.
(A very brave me) sprinted across the hallway to my boyfriend’s office. I looked at him and his lips were baby-powder white. “What the hell is that?!” he asked, looking around. Then we both looked at the balcony door; it was swinging back and forth. That’s when I realized that, what had been shaking us, was an earthquake. It had to be.
Many “What to do during an earthquake” guides say that some of the things you can do is hide under a sturdy desk or go inside a corner. So I went inside one of the many corners in my apartment, while yelling at my boyfriend to do the same. All this happened in matter of 30 seconds or less (and the whole time someone from my doctor’s office was still on the phone. I don’t think she realized what was going on because she kept talking, even though I was not even listening).
Let’s just say the whole thing was a very interesting experience. I had never felt an earthquake in the East Coast before and, like everyone else, I freaked out.
My thought of the day: I cannot imagine what Japan and Haiti went through with their catastrophic experiences. My heart goes out to them.
Back to us, where were you on the day the earth shook the US East Coast?