Published August 23, 2012 by Sandee

We had an earthquake in Manhattan last year.  I felt it when a lot of people didn’t.  I had just joked about how that fault line in our neighborhood happens to be under a street with a strip of outdoor cafes.  It’s a weekend hangout.  Motorcycles race up to the street and park.  The drivers commune with each other, with people standing around the cafes.  There’s a garden across the street where people socialize.  If an earthquake came on Saturday, all those folks would be sucked into the earth’s core, I said.

A day later, my TV stand shook and I knew immediately what it was, though I live in an old building that shakes when trucks rumble by.  I knocked on neighbor’s doors to warn them.  They said they didn’t feel anything.  “I’ll turn on the news and see,” one said before going back inside.  I ran down six flights of stairs — Smokey the Bear said you shouldn’t take elevators if there’s a fire, so I figured you shouldn’t take them if there’s an earthquake either.

I got outside and stood there.  People strolled.  They waited for their dogs to finish pooping, talked to neighbors.  I squinted, looking for signs of panic in their faces, for people screaming, running around with their arms flailing.  Didn’t see any.  The super of my building whistled while he hosed our sidewalk.

“Did you feel that!  We had an earthquake – I know it.”  “Yeah?  I didn’t feel anything.  Where are you going anyway?  If there’s an earthquake, you’re probably better off upstairs.”  I told him I’d go to the armory, but I wasn’t really sure.  A couple with a baby in a harness walked by chuckling lightly.  I did recall hearing that you should stand in the door sill if there’s an earthquake.  I looked at the sky.  No answers up there.  I went back upstairs.

My phone rang.  “Are you okay?” It was my sister.  She’d heard there was an earthquake here.  “I knew it!”  I said, turning on the news.  Gotdammit I knew it.

Same thing happened around ’81.  I lay in bed Sunday morning hung over as usual.  The bed shook.  “Ma!  My bed just shook!  What was that?  Oh my God!”  “Sandee go back to sleep.  Nothing’s shaking.  It’s just you,” she sighed.  Turned out, another earthquake had happened.  Mom didn’t believe me.  She thought I was having the shakes, the DTs – I know, it’s messed up, but that’s another blog post, maybe…

[Sing to Olivia Newton John’s Physical song] Let’s get metaphysical, metaphysical, I wanna get me-ta-phy-sicaaaaal!  Let’s get into metaphysical [okay you can stop singing now] — Why do I feel the earth vibrating when others don’t?  And my joke about that earthquake a day before it happened.  ESP?  Hmm…

41 comments on “Earthquaaaaaake!!!

  • Wow! We had one back in 2010 too where the house and bed was shaking badly…it was so loud and woke us up…I think it was after the Haiti one nd it just scared me…thankfully no major disaster.

    Wonder why your neighbors didn’t hear or feel it…maybe they thought it was something else.

    • That must have been frightening, especially in the wake of the earthquake in Haiti! I tell you it’s a day at a time.

      The one here was so slight that if you were already moving, you may not have felt it. People probably passed it off to a truck passing by or something like that, or maybe they thought they had a little vertigo. Thank goodness it was small. But they’re always reminding us that Manhattan’s next — gotta live my life to the fullest!

  • maybe it’s because you are really grounded? Anyway, why did you mention that stupid song? lol When I met my ex husband, that was his favorite song he even had a poster up on the wall of it. lol. You know, you may save the whole city one day with your gift! I felt an earthquake once, in Michigan of all places.

    • You funny Carla!

      It is a stupid song ain’t it? He must’ve had that poster of Olivia Newton John with the headband on circa 1980 lol!

      Wow you guys had one too? We better be good to each other, ’cause you neva know huh?

      I almost did put a line in the post about my ‘gift’, that could perhaps save people — tee hee! We’re on the same wavelength!

  • I didn’t feel last year’s earthquake at all, although other people I know did. I do remember the one from ’81 or ’82, though, mainly because it was at something like 6:30 in the morning on a weekend. And even though I had never felt an earthquake before, I knew immediately that that’s what it was.

  • That reminds me of an earthquake we had in Ottawa about 3 years ago. The buildings shook and all was well but our department conveniently used it as an excuse to knock off work early.

    Being from the Canadian prairies, that was my first earthquake so it was kinda cool.

  • I lived in Los Angeles when I first experienced an earthquake but it was low on the Richter scale. It shook me out of bed but my partner laid sleeping. So did our neighbors. No big deal in a city of calamity.
    One thing is correct, next time, grab the cell phone and make sure that I, too, get up and stand underneath one of our old door frames. They are the safest place and don’t waste time, things generally happen big if they are going to be big, within seconds of each other.

  • Cool, but scary post.
    I was living in White Plains, New York in the early 80’s when that earth quake hit. I remember being in bed and it felt like a bomb went off, it was so loud and shaky. I grew up in NY — and that was the first time in my life I had ever experienced an earth quake. Scary!
    Sandee, you might have a sixth sense that picks up on that kind of thing. Wouldn’t that be weird? I hope they don’t start picking up in frequency. Yipes!

  • I didn’t realize how scary this was until I started reading the comments. That’s something that you felt it that intensely up there. I would have had a heart attack — geez! I’m just hoping as I mentioned to Annie that writing about this isn’t a sixth sense type of a thing!

  • I despise and fear earthquakes. The first big one that I was awake for (I slept through the 72 quake) was in 1987. We just had a couple of smaller ones a couple weeks ago. Earthquakes suck, although they’re not as bad as tornadoes, which scare the piss out of me and make me eternally grateful I don’t live in the midwest.

    There was a story on the news today about this being the first anniversary of the quake in your area, so Happy Anniversary and I hope it never happens again.

    • I know you have some earthquake tales to tell being from out west — oh boy! That does suck. While I don’t have that fear now, when I was a kid, the thought of living in CA used to scare me.

      I’m going to try finding that story — hey that’s interesting I decided to write about this now. Truthfully, I couldn’t recall the month the earthquake happened here. Maybe I knew it but didn’t know I knew it — know what I mean 🙂

      • It was just a little blurb on our local ABC affiliate (KABC, Channel 7), but I’m sure somebody in your area did a much better story on it. Heck, we still get anniversary stories about the last big quake in our area (Northridge in 1994).

        I was taking a geology class in ’94, so the next class after was devoted to earthquakes. During the lab, I heard a funny skritchy-scratchy-squeaky noise and then the room started swaying a little. I realized it was the seismograph in the corner registering an aftershock. Freaky, but oddly reassuring at the same time.

  • Sandee, I remember that last year. I was at my desk and I thought I was having a dizzy spell or something, because the desk seem like it was moving and I thought it was me, inside my head! Then the blinds were shaking, clicking on the window. it was weird. You better blog the day before when you get your spidey sense again and let us know, deal?

    • ‘Spidey sense’! Deal! As I wrote this I’m thinking, how do I make good use of this ‘ability’? 🙂

      I think some people did indeed think they were just having a dizzy spell or something — I can totally see that, because the tremor was so light.

    • It’s scary and catches us here on the east coast off guard — this is something that traditionally happens in California we’re thinking. They keep saying a big one’s coming here. It does help to give you another perspective on life. 🙂

  • I do love an earthquake, even though they’re scary! I was around for the big one here in the Bay Area in 1989. 10 years old, listening to Milli Vanilli. The earthquake was probably less traumatic than the musical choice.

    I do love ONJ though.

    • ONJ is adorable really! Speaking of California in ’89 — I was there but in in LA. Didn’t know there was an earthquake, wow! At least you love ’em — you can get your fill out there I suppose.

      Funny, when we drove to CA in ’89 we sang an ONJ medley — I love Have You Never Been Mellow, and Please Mister Please!

      Milli Vanilli was sad, very sad…we made fun of them the whole time during that trip. They kept popping up on the radio and we’d say, “Why?”

  • Not a day goes by that I don’t ask myself “why?’ about them. 😉

    You don’t remember hearing about the Big One? It was 7.1 and it killed quite a few people. Also destroyed part of the Bay Bridge and the 880 Freeway. It was crazy times. Also it happened during the World Series and Oakland A’s vs. SF Giants.

  • You were riding with the top down singing some Olivia Newton John! Not a care in the world. At least that’s what I like to picture. 🙂

    Believe me, I sure wish I had a more selective memory. Plenty of shit in there I wouldn’t mind getting rid of.

      • I feel so stupid now! I can’t even blame alcoholism because I was sober at that time! I wish I could.

        Thanks for giving me an excuse — I was with quite an intoxicating gentleman on that trip — maybe that was it? I wrote an entire novel about it after all, unpublished. But soon maybe…

        I swear from now on I’m going to make sure I know what the hell is going on in every corner of the country that I live in!

  • That earthquake was awesome. I remember I was standing in my living room, and at first I thought there was a really big truck going by, but then the ceiling fan started swaying, and I thought, “It’s an earthquake! It can’t be an earthquake. This is Baltimore. But it’s an earthquake! I should grab the baby and get out of the house!” By the time I’d finished thinking that, it was over. Pretty much everyone felt it here, though. It was kind of cool, in an end-of-the-world, earthquakes-happening-on-the-east-coast kind of way.

  • In the WI eq’s occurs almost on a daily basis. Cannot count how many times I’ve woken up, the bed jumping around. The worst was a 7.1 in 2007. It was a deep one, nothing happened, except the concrete house I was in, was swaying like made of rubber.
    I don’t mind the tremors, but the sound they make is frigging eerie…. like a deep roar coming from inside the Earth.

    • Oh shit! A deep roar — that’s frightening! I guess you kind of get used to them when they happen so frequently. Here on the east coast, we aren’t used to it. I imagined all manner of disaster scenes all from that tiny little tremor we had — whew!

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