So, there was an earthquake on the East Coast today. I don’t know if you heard.
And it was scary. It was a 5.9 and my whole office shook and I made this really awkward yelping laugh as I pinned myself against the wall because I laugh when I am very nervous. It was a strong swaying up there on the top level of my building, one that I honestly am having a hard time remembering. Because I guess when stuff like this happens, you just kind of go in to self preservation mode and do what you need to do.
Yelling began in the hallways and we were ordered to run down the stairs to the street. And that is when I got scared, really fucking scared. I had the churny throw up feeling in my stomach and I immediately began sweating. The stairwell was dead silent excepting the echoing of shoes slamming against the concrete of the old building.
The last time any of us had been instructed to run for our lives was September 11th and I knew most of us were thinking about that.
I don’t want to be that person, that person who constantly reminds you how THEY LIVED THROUGH 911 and IT WAS AWFUL and YOU JUST CAN’T UNDERSTAND. The world is full of tragedy and the Pain Olympics is a maddening game.
But it was one of the most bone-chillingly frightening days of my life and driving across the Key Bridge and seeing the Pentagon on fire is tattooed in my brain. I cannot imagine what life is like for people in Iraq or Israel or Palestine. One day, one damn day, has stuck with me. To have this be your life? Unimaginable.
What really stuck with me this afternoon was how when we trudged up the stairs and after we all poured ourselves a stiff drink (Jesus loves those with a liquor cabinet at work), we all started talking about that day almost ten years ago when all our lives changed. How the phones weren’t working then too and how we were scared in stairwells then too and how we all had to walk for miles then too.
So, yes, it seems cheap and easy to cry 911 trauma in the face of this. And I admit, some of the jokes from the left coast were funny, albeit a bit too immediate. And, after a few drinks, the very small annoyances of backed up traffic and broken picture frames were hardly a burden. I think we maybe all felt a little silly.
But today was a bit of a day, one with unexpected events and fresh opening of old wounds. So, now I end this day with a vow to pack some sensible shoes under my desk and a promise to not sleep naked tonight in case of aftershocks. I will turn in grateful that I wore my favorite leopard print skirt and had the perfect blowout; I should only be looking my most fabulous if I am going to experience such a jolt.
But I am going to allow myself to splurge and eat Chinese in bed and sigh at all the meta backlash going on out there on the internet. Today, I was a little shaken.
Tomorrow? Smooth sailing.