The strangest thing happened Saturday night. I was sitting at my computer (playing World of Warcraft, I confess) when I felt my chair nudged from behind. The cat, I supposed, wanted a late night treat. Since he’d had dinner, and since he looks more like a gray pumpkin than a small feline, I just ignored him.
He became insistent. Push, push, push. Usually at this point he’d start complaining, loudly. I’d hear lots of Meows; commentary about the indignity of having to go hungry and how abused he is. He’d threaten to call Kitty Protective Services on me. He’d promise to behave if only I’d give him a treat or two. He’d tell me how very, very hungry he was. Begging would ensue.
But he remained strangely silent.
Nudge, nudge, nudge. I waved my hand behind me to knock him away. My hand hit air. I figured he’d moved on and given up.
The next moment my chair felt as though someone had taken the back of it and started to shake it. I figured my husband was teasing me. When we first met, he spent 30 minutes kicking the back of my chair. I know that sounds like we were in kindergarden, but we weren’t. We were in college. Working on Master’s degrees. But I digress.
I turned around to swat at my husband. A shiver ran down my spine when I saw there was no one behind me. No fur baby, no husband…and my chair still shook.
I lept up from the chair like it was on fire or possessed. About the same time, my husband looked around from the sofa and said “Do you feel that?”
Oh yes, I definitely felt that. So did the TV, which was doing a little dance without the assistance of a dance partner. That’s when it hit me.
“Earthquake!” I shouted.
Adrenaline poured through me as I thought of the implications of that. Really, an earthquake? I’ve never been in one before. I mean, tornados? No problem, I know what to do with those. In our case go hide in a stairwell of the building or the bathroom. Hail? Get inside a building or under cover. Floods? Higher ground. Hurricanes? Get out of Dodge before it gets there. But an earthquake? I live in Dallas. Shaking is not a normal thing for the ground to be doing. I don’t have a clue what to do. Vague thoughts of standing in a doorway came to mind. But it seemed an over reaction given the mild shaking.
So like any intelligent person I told my husband to turn on the news. They were blissfully unaware of the impending doom. I then turned to Twitter to satisfy my need to ensure I wasn’t going insane, and to my gaming buddies.
“I think we’re having an earthquake!” I told my friends.
One of my friends went to look it up online while I went to Twitter. Yes, people were already tweeting about it. While it was happening. In seconds, I got confirmation via Twitter that indeed the ground was shaking and I was not hallucinating, imagining it, or being taunted by my husband. Of course by the time I got excited about the whole thing it was over. The center, it turned out, was in Oklahoma. We experienced the puppy tail end of it. Just enough to make you think you were losing your mind, but not enough to knock over the china.
Isn’t it amazing, though, that these days the news isn’t fast enough? Twitter got me the information I wanted in seconds. Instead of taking shelter, thousands of us were online chatting about the ground shaking like we were all standing on a street corner together instead of scattered all over Dallas.
What a world we live in!