A quake at the Post

Jen describes what happens when she’s the only one in the newsroom at the Washington Post who felt the tiny excuse for a earthquake that rattled the Beltway yesterday.

Funny thing was, no one felt it but me. I was in prime earthquake-sensing position at my desk, sitting fairly still, just typing, one leg tucked under me, the other dangling off the floor. Then, a little shake-shake. A familiar, slight vibration of the chair. “Hm,” I thought. “Was that what I think it was?” I’m finely attuned to these things, you see, coming from San Francisco. But I looked around and no one seemed to have noticed. So I chalked it up to a monster truck or strong wind or third-floor construction jiggling the building, and promptly forgot about it.

But then: The frenzy! Most of the people in these parts aren’t used to earth-shaking events. It was quite cute, watching them get all excited. When people found out I’d felt it, it was like I was the only kid in the class who was tall enough to go on the super-scary roller coaster or cool enough to have made out with the captain of the football team or awake enough to catch Santa stuffing my stocking with treats. “Ooh, you felt it? When? How? What’d it feel like? Gee, I wish I’d felt it…”

We had one of those a few months back at the Mercury News. I was sitting there minding my own business when there’s this sensation that somebody has given the room a little tug. Lasts for a second then goes away, though it did make my big pagination monitor sway a bit.

To put this in perspective, I once asked a veteran co-worker what it was like when the big 1989 earthquake (the one that interrupted the World Series) hit. He told me that he went outside and noticed that the water in the fountain surrounding the Mercury News building was pouring over the side.