At 5:00AM this morning, I woke for no apparent reason. Four seconds later, the house began to rattle. It was like a huge truck had driven by, shaking our home… except there was no truck, or anything like it.
Earthquake, I thought. That was an earthquake. It was brief and didn’t continue so I promptly fell asleep again, determined to check later to see if there had been an earthquake here in Baltimore.
I have a dog-sense when it comes to earthquakes. My first one was big: I was in Palm Springs for a weekend business meeting years ago. We were staying in a posh vacation home where I had my own little suite. After being wined and dined by our host, we all turned in for the night. About 3:00AM, I woke up in pitch black… and then, moments later, some giant force grabbed my bed and began shaking it, then slid it across the floor. I heard crashing and glass breaking.
Earthquake! I screamed in my mind. Then I tried to remember all that stuff they tell you to do… Go stand in a door way… No, don’t do that, get under something heavy… No, don’t do that either…
So, in the midst of wondering whether the entire million dollar roof was going to come down on me, I did get myself into the door frame and braced myself. When my host came running out of his room, he found me wearing Lord knows what, glued to the door frame, yelling something I can’t remember.
After the rattling subsided, three otherwise modest Christian men were standing around in their boxers dazed and confused, and one crazy young woman was still stuck to her doorframe. Eventually, they talked me out. The quake registered something like 8.6 on the richter scale and the center was in a remote part of the desert, not far from us.
One of my poor colleagues had flown there from Europe. During his first trip to the Americas — to Mexico City — he experienced a huge earthquake. This trip to California was his second. I’m not sure he’s been across the Atlantic since.