The Westering Hills

Call me morbid, call me pale. . .

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Reminiscing about the Big Earthquake

Today is the five year anniversary of the Big Earthquake that hit Seattle, which is really the only way I can remember when BW's and my dating anniversary is, since we started dating two days before. Sitting through the 45 seconds of that earthquake was one of the scariest and most exhilarating experiences of my life. I will never forget crouching under my old, heavy desk at work, feeling the ground rolling in huge waves under my body; it went on and on and I kept wondering when it was going to stop and if the building was going to start collapsing if it didn't stop. After it was done, I jumped onto the computer to email friends about it and then called my mom in Ohio to let her know I was okay--in both instances, news of the quake hadn't hit the rest of the world yet so I was the first bearer of this tale, which was cool! Afterwards, the workday was a complete wash. I walked around downtown with coworkers to see what damage there was; nothing much in my part of downtown (Belltown) except that a few cars were crushed under some masonry that had fallen off of the Icon Grill's rooftop. When I got back to my apartment in Capitol Hill, only one mirror had broken. Anyone else from Seattle reading this want to share their story?

BW and I made the Spicy Lemongrass Shrimp dish last night. It was amazing--Sher, you are right, the flavors were complex and rich, so much so that we didn't miss the intense heat that we normally flood into our stirfrys. It's nice to have that Vietnamese Stir Fry Sauce recipe handy for other dishes, too. Kudos to posting it for the rest of us!


  • At 10:59 AM, Anonymous sher said…

    So glad you enjoyed the recipe, it's one of my favorites. I was here in Northern California during the 1989 earthquake in San Francisco. It was my first time actually feeling one. I live over an hour's drive from San Francisco, but I will never forget the way my house suddenly felt like it was sitting on Jell-o, moving back and forth!! Very strange.

  • At 11:07 AM, Blogger Binulatti said…

    Oh god. I still get the shivers thinking about it (the quake, not shrimp). Being an eastcoaster, I am terrified of earthquakes. I mean, you can prepare for snowstorms...I was in the Terminal Sales Building on 2nd (built 1902) working for that litte graphic services firm. The track lighting slammed the walls, plaster everywhere, actual fissures in the walls. All 15 of us were crowded into one doorway (smart? no) with me hissing f*ck! f*ck! Sorry! f*ck!". Funny all I could think about was Stoli, who refused to put her feet on the ground for days after. *shivers*

  • At 11:14 AM, Blogger Kristi said…

    I remember my sister's terrified email that day. Volcanos (be sure to ask her about that) and earthquakes are not her friends. No earthquakes here in upstate NY. We get ice storms though. And below zero temperatures.

  • At 11:28 AM, Blogger pbrchicken said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 11:30 AM, Blogger pbrchicken said…

    I was working at the Rainier Tower in downtown Seattle. That's the goofy-looking building with a concaved narrow base that makes it look like a mammoth pencil stuck in the ground. It was designed with earthquakes in mind and has this central structural support. Apparently the idea of the funny shape and the central axis was that when an earthquake hits you wobble like one of those mexican dashboard frogs, or a hula girl thingy --- so ya bend and bow but don't break.

    Lord did we shimmy.. And then shaked.. and then we did the mashed potato. And the twist. I was all up there in a surfer pose, going woah woooahh.. before someone grabbed my arm and pulled under a doorframe as if that would help.

    Bummer, I was having fun... surfin' the quake!

    For 15 minutes or so afterwards, I was calling people and bragging that my building was still moving. You could see the drapes quivering back and forth.

  • At 3:32 PM, Anonymous Ben said…

    I was in the Seattle Tower (a scant 2 blocks from the Rainier Tower) when it hit, and may I say the 12th floor of a building built in the 1920's provides quite the carnival ride. No major damage at home, just some fallen pictures, a very jittery dog and one frazzled cat.

  • At 4:58 PM, Blogger Rocco said…

    Earthquakes scare me...Thank God I'm an east coaster...Loved your tale of it though!

  • At 6:31 AM, Anonymous Dave said…

    I was sitting on the goddamn toilet. Being a guy, I wasn't there for numero uno.

    "Wipe? Or no wipe?"

    It being a toilet at work, staying and potentially dying with my pants around my ankles wasn't an option. I worked at Getty Images, in the Adobe / Getty complex in Fremont. On the third floor, or maybe 2nd, don't remember, but it the bathroom right across from the acupuncture and chinese medicine school. Ya think they'd have had a leg-up in the earthquake predicting field, ancient chinese secret or something. And maybe they did, as I didn't see anyone running down the stairs wrapped in a sheet and prickly with acupuncture needles.

    Shortly after I was laid off and escaped the land of volcanoes, mudslides and earthquakes. Moved to New Orleans. Good one.

    Now, of course, I'm in DC. Another brilliant move, I'm sure. Where I'll no doubt be sitting on the toilet when the dirty bomb goes off. Or the Capitol building is hit by a flying saucer. Or God finally calls bullshit, and opts for ditching the laissez-faire policy and commences Old Testament II: Electric Boogaloo by pulling a Sodom and Gomorrah on the Senate and Congress-whores-ah, and getting all Cheney on the Administration's ass with an asteroid shower shotgun.

    At which point perhaps it'd be best to have my butt hanging over the bowl, save myself the hassle of finding clean underwear in my final minutes.


  • At 4:33 PM, Blogger pbrchicken said…

    Wow. Before this last post got into Old Testament II: Electric Boogaloo, I was about to ask about the John Travoltaishness of being on the pot when the real shit goes down.



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