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!
Great story, Melinda. Ain’t Twitter grand.
How long did it last? We have earthquakes in Seattle every few years. We are expecting a really big one soon, yikes. I’ve lived through a few and know the uneasy feeling. Glad you guys only had a mild shake.
I think it only lasted 30-45 seconds. Really by the time we realized what was going on, it was ending. It was enough to get us all excited, but not much else which is a good thing. We just aren’t equipped for shaking ground around here! Wind blowing your roof off, yes. Ground shaking the house down, no. I am really glad I don’t live somewhere that earthquakes are common. I suppose you get used to it, but still. It just doesn’t feel right!
Yikes! I was at first thinking it was a ghost, but an earthquake? They are pretty scary ~ I live in Southern California, so I know earthquakes! All those other things you mentioned, yeah, not so much. Maybe hail. Once.
I’m so glad you are okay! It’s crazy how our immediate news is now online. Thank you, Twitter!
I have a lot of friends who would rather it have been paranormal activity *grin*
All my friends in the panhandle were talking of this earthquake! Here in Houston I didn’t feel a thing and I’m glad because I probably wouldn’t have known what to do:) Love your description of how it felt. It is amazing that one of the main media sources we used to depend on for late-breaking news can’t keep up with twitter or facebook!
We felt it here, too, but we all had the deer-in-the-headlights thing going on. Not a typical sensation in KS! 🙂
Wow, I wasn’t expecting it to be an earthquake. It is a scary thing when you feel one for the first time. I live in So. Calif. and have been through plenty of small quakes. We’re so used to them that we don’t even get up, just look at each other and ask, “Did you feel that?” The medium-size quakes are more jolting. Not a good feeling, especially as they’re happening and there’s no way of knowing if it’s going to increase or end soon. The biggest one I remember was in 1971. I was a teen, sleeping on a top bunk. Rumors of California breaking off and falling into the ocean didn’t help. At the time, I thought it was the end of the world, at least for us. All seven family members ran into the living room at the same time! There wasn’t much damage from it (we were in Whittier), just a few cracks in a couple walls.
Oh, I forgot to say that your logline is really cool and so is that awesome picture in the header!
Awww, thanks! When I went to the USGS website I saw how many quakes California has a day and had to laugh. We are such amateurs here in Texas when it comes to ground shaking events. Well, of the geological kind anyway. I’m glad this one didn’t last long, I really had no clue what we should be doing. I’m sure deer in the headlights described our faces exactly 🙂
Seriously, what’s going on? You’re not supposed to get earthquakes in your neck of the woods! So. Californna, oh yeah. All the time.
We keep waiting for the big one. Little ones, piece of cake. Yeah right!
This is certainly a brave new world we’re living in. I was chatting about all the tech changes with a friend last night. my 18 mo granddaughter loves her pretend cell phone. She carries it around all the time and ‘pretend’ talks on it.
having never been in an earthquake, it’s interesting to see how you reacted.
Precious story, Melinda. I tried to photograph my first earthquake… You can imagine how that turned out! 😉
I did think about it, but I couldn’t figure out how I would get the shaking to show up lol.