So today Red Bean got a new kind of water ride when the ground below Washington, DC, shook at a magnitude of 5.8 for around 60 seconds or so. From the second floor of the 200-year old brick building in which I work, the earthquake sounded first like many low-flying helicopters, but the definite rumble increased till the windows and then the floor and walls shuddered beneath and around us. I was in a meeting with four co-workers, and there was a second or two of debate along the lines of “I’m going outside” vs. “You’re supposed to stand in a doorway”. I threw my lot in with the go-outside crew as I doubted that any 200-year-old brick building in Washington, DC, was built to anything like what they call on the West Coast “code”. As the leader of the go-outside cohort put it, “I’d rather have a tree fall on me than four floors of brick and plaster.”
Once we felt better about returning indoors and resuming our meeting, Red Bean was definitely shaken. Not baby’s usual awake time, but I felt a lot of movement. Knowing now that there were at least two aftershocks I didn’t feel, and knowing that many animals can sense earthquakes in ways we can’t, I wondered if perhaps, inside the watery darkness of the womb, Red Bean felt things that I missed. I wished I had paid attention to the times I felt those jostles.
At any rate, we are safe and well, and other than the topple of a box fan in front of the sliding door, our possessions are in the state we left them in this morning, when we headed out innocently into the solid, East coast city streets without the foggiest notion that an earthquake would beat Hurricane Irene to us. Baby’s first earthquake made for an exciting afternoon.
Postscript: The aftermath of the earthquake was metro back-up and gridlock (look, some places hold vigils, we hold traffic jams, ok?) and many offices let employees out early. Dupont Circle was like one big happy hour – a snow day in summer. After tea with a couple of co-workers, I spent three hours at the knit shop, avoiding any commuting nightmares, and took my normal bus home around 7:30. Baby’s first earthquake made for a pretty relaxing evening.