Did the Earth Move for you? No Biggie.

my husband and I, much younger, living in the city where the earth is supposed to quake

My mom called me around 2:30 today and my daughter picked up. I was in the middle of digging myself out of post-camp laundry hell and really was in no mood to talk on the phone. What I thought my daughter as post camp teen sarcasm of “grandma’s on the phone, there was an earthquake” to get my attention turned out to be the truth.

There was an earthquake, a big one, on the east coast!

How did it feel for you?

Now, though I didn’t feel the temblor this time around, I felt my share of earthquakes when I was Transplantedwest.

My husband and I lived out the early years of dating and marriage on the left coast. In Bezerkeley, I mean Berkeley, California.

One night, we were in bed asleep. And the earth went BUMP!

How to describe this feeling to a New Yorker: Say you are in a taxi, going really fast down the West Side Highway. And you hit a pothole.

Well, I knew my bed couldn’t possibly have hit¬† a pothole, so I woke Craig and asked: WHAT WAS THAT!

Sleepily, he said, “It’s nothing, just a tremor. Go back to sleep.”

Nothing??? He had apparently been living on the West Coast for too long.

Next time I felt one, it was, well, three earthquakes in a row. Again, in the middle of the night. Again, we were in bed.

This time, you could actually hear it coming. This time, it felt like the world was a big area rug that had just had a good shaking out.

After the third one, a 5.1, I got out of bed, strapped on a bicycle helmet, yelled at my beloved to hurry the f**k up and finish his Ph.D so we could move back east. and fell asleep in the door jamb of our bedroom.

The next day, my co-workers, most of them native Californians, were downright giddy.

“Did you feel that last night?”

“The china in my cabinet was shaking like crazy!”

And I looked at them, and thought, they are crazy. How can they live with this unpredictablity in their lives, knowing at any moment the ground can swallow them up? I knew then I was definately not cut out for west coast living.

My co-workers were also unphased, when a few months later, during a staff meeting, the building actually started rocking like a boat tossed at sea.

They asked me, as I turned pale, what the problem was. It’s nothing, they told me. You live here long enough, you’ll get used to it.

About a year later, Craig finished his Ph.D. and we moved back to the unshakable East, where we belonged.

So, for those of you east coasters who experienced your first earthquake, just enjoy it as a crazy memory. And be glad for the bedrock that is generally still beneath your feet.

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About stacylynngittleman

I have been a reporter and public relations professional for over 30 years, specializing in profile features and investigative longform writing. During my career I've profiled WWII Honor Flight Veterans, artists and musicians and have written on topics that range from environmental and gun control issues to Jewish culture. Click around on my writing samples plus read my blog on my personal life raising three kids over 27 years and three cities.

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