Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Shake, rattle, roll

Yesterday was a very interesting day on the East Coast of the USA. First, a personal tidbit: yesterday was my one-year anniversary with my "new" company (I guess it's not so "new" anymore). So I was feeling a little psyched by that as I walked from the parking lot to my office. The cooler weather and the beautiful Carolina blue sky put a little extra spring in my step, and I felt happy.

The morning went by quickly and shortly after lunch I was sitting at my desk, minding my own business, doing some project work, when suddenly . . . the floor started shaking. OK, sometimes this happens when people walk by, or when someone is pushing a cart through the hallways. Thing is, no one was walking by, and there was no cart being pushed. Everything in the office got really, really quiet. I looked up at the ceiling and noticed that the lights were swinging a little, and that's when I realized . . . THE EARTH WAS MOVING!!!

The whole thing lasted about 30 seconds, but it seemed to last longer because it was so surreal. Immediately, people started popping out of their cubes and offices, and everyone was asking: "What was THAT?!!!" Being the social networker that I am, my first reaction was to check Twitter. At 1:54PM, I tweeted: "Am I in California or North Carolina? I just felt a seismic shift!!! WTF!!!"

Then the Tweets started rolling in. The first one I saw was from someone I follow in Chapel Hill, who said she felt it there. Then someone from Raleigh posted something. That was just the beginning.

In the meantime, my coworker who sits in the cube behind me was checking the internet. At about the same time as she found it online, I was reading Tweets saying that there was a seismic event near Washington, DC. Within a matter of minutes, we were learning from social media that people felt it in places like Toronto, Louisville, and New York. Internet news agencies reported a 5.8 (or 5.9) and the epicenter was in a town called Mineral, Virginia (which is near Richmond). The reason we felt it so far away, according to news reports, is because the land on the East Coast is different and the event occurred in a more "shallow" location in the earth.

I've been all around the world, to places where tremors are frequent. I even lived in California one summer. But I've never felt the earth move until yesterday. Ironically, in a place where this kind of thing doesn't happen very often.

My one-year anniversary may not have been noticed by anyone but me, but I'll remember it for a long time!