So!  That was crazy, right??  Lucky lady that I am, despite being born and raised in Massachusetts and never living west of the Mississippi, this was not my first earthquake.  Back when I was working with my first firm (the one that didn't break me), my boss and I had this fantastic client that was based in El Segundo, CA.  They were working on a HUGE project with a tight deadline, and because of tight security, they required at least one of us on site at their facility 2-3 days per week.  My boss and I both lived in Chicago at the time, so this meant we became close friends with everyone at LAX, as well as most of the LAX hotel staffers.  (It is shocking how often Friday night flights from LAX to O'Hare are cancelled.  SHOCKING.)  Anyway, after about six months of this crazy travel schedule (7 am flight on Wednesday morning, 5:30 pm flight home on Friday -- EVERY WEEK), my boss decided to transfer temporarily to our firm's LA office.  Because LA is surprisingly awesome (no one expected this less than I, let me assure you), the transfer quickly became permanent.  (Incidentally, this is what allowed me to transfer back to the firm's DC office -- wheee!)  Given her new status as a California resident, my boss had to sit for the bar exam, so I was called back to LA to cover the client while she was out.  This is how I came to spend the summer of 2008 at the Residence Inn in Manhattan Beach, which is precisely where I was when the magnitude 5.4 Chino Hills earthquake struck.*  At first I had no idea what was happening; it felt more like vertigo than anything else.  However, once I saw the curtains swaying and heard the walls creaking, I realized what was happening.  Not having any idea what to do (I'm more of a blizzards and hurricanes kind of gal), I decided to get the hell OUT.  Fight or flight FTW!

Evidently this is my standard earthquake MO, because yesterday was no different.  It was just before 2 and I was sitting in the kitchen, working.  Mark had come home early because he had meetings close to home and didn't want to drive all the way back into the city.  He was working from home, sitting down in the basement.  All of a sudden, there was this really loud rumbling outside, like a super loud garbage truck or 18-wheeler out on the main road, but then it got ... bigger, and everything started shaking like crazy.  The dishes and glasses were rattling, the chandelier was swinging, the house was wobbling, and the walls were creaking.**  The rumbling was just SO LOUD.  It was really scary -- my first thought was that a gas line was rupturing or something, but then I just KNEW.  I jumped up in abject terror and yelled for Mark, and do you know what he shouted back as he sprinted for the front yard?  "Get on the deck!"  Gee, thanks, darling love of mine, I'll be sure to go right toward the least stable structure on the property, which also happens to be many many feet off the ground.  Good plan!  Instead I FLEW down the stairs and out the front door; I don't think my feet actually touched the ground, I went so fast.  I ran out to the front yard, and Mark was like, "What is going on?" and I was all, "EARTHQUAAAAAKE!!"  All of the neighbors were running outside too because, like the good little east coasters we are, no one had any idea what in the hell to do in an earthquake.  It briefly crossed my mind to stand in a doorway as I was sprinting through the dining room, but then I was like, OH HELL NO.  I didn't want any part of being in a collapsed building that was doomed to explode because the gas dryer was running.  (Of course that was what I pictured happening.  What, me?  Irrational?  Surely you jest!)

After a few minutes, we went back inside to assess the damage (crooked picture frames, bath items thrown from shower shelves and medicine cabinet -- ohhh, the huMANity), but I could not stop my heart racing and my hands shaking.  We decided around 4 that it was definitely a good day for a cocktail hour.  Nothing like a little booze to calm the nerves!  I am still all freaked out though.  A really big truck drove by earlier and my whole body tensed, waiting for the rumbling to intensify again.  Big day here in the 'burbs!

*I would like to take this opportunity to call BULLSHIT on all of the west coasters mocking the response to the VA quake.  I can personally attest to the nonstop local news coverage of the smaller 2008 LA earthquake, and according to the NY Times (yep, it made the east coast news!), office buildings and schools were evacuated, trains were interrupted, and even Disneyland had a brief shutdown.  So much for eating 5.8 quakes for breakfast, tough guys...
**I do NOT like the creaking, not one little bit.  It freaks my shit right out.  DO NOT LIKE.


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