Of all the things I ever thought I’d experience, an earthquake is not one of them. And certainly not in South Jersey. But as I sat in the office yesterday with a colleague, everything around us started to shake. I guess I thought it’d be a cool experience, but truthfully it was terrifying. Although it was probably just a few seconds, it felt like time slowed down to hours. I grabbed the wood desk trying somehow to steady myself, which was impossible since everything was moving like we were on a boat. I stared at the pictures on her wall, which were just swaying back and forth. I watched my coworker run out of her office in a panic. I myself couldn’t move. When everything stopped swaying, I looked down at the desk in front of me, swooped my arms around everything I saw (purse, cell phone, iPad) and walked right out the door.
On the way down the stairs a woman I didn’t know was near hysterical. She had a vertigo problem and needed someone to hold onto as she walked down the stairs. I was relieved to have an excuse just to hold on to anyone, so I grabbed her arm like it was a life raft.
Outside in the parking lot it was a gorgeous day, and cars drove by and birds sang and the whole thing seemed like it hadn’t happened. But when a car pulled into the lot and no one moved to let it by, I realized how freaked out we all were.
Soon enough we were back inside. The phones were all tied up, so I texted my husband and then went to Facebook to see if any of the other parents from the daycare could tell me if the kids were okay. I had no idea if the earthquake had hit our neighborhood as hard as it’d hit South Jersey. Within 10 minutes I learned from one of the teachers that all the kids just slept through it, since it happened during naptime. My husband hadn’t felt it at all.
Such a strange, strange afternoon.