I was grabbing dinner with Amie at one of the few legitimate restaurants in the Bay Area. We were munching on some bacon-wrapped prawns, the combination of which is much like the twinkies and hot dogs. That is to say, bacon and prawns are not something that something that immediately leaps out at one as something that should be combined, but much like Devastator become the most powerful of all appetizers when they join forces. Swine and crustacean, almost like it was meant to be.
While preparing to dig into the culinary innovation, Amie paused mid-sentence. The point in which she stopped didn’t suggest dramatic delay, so I was initially very curious. All concern was abandoned instantly however when I finally realized that the fucking earth was shaking.
“You feel that?” she asked.
“That’s an earthquake.”
The giant blue square in the diagram above was *my ass*. At 8:04pm a 5.6 magnitude temblor scrambled up the peninsula to wreck my dinner.
Earthquakes, like tornadoes, are difficult to describe. The shaking was the same severity that one would expect in a house next to railroad tracks. What was weird about the shaking, though, was the origin. When the El rolls by in a crappy hotel in Chicago, one can feel the direction the offense. With an earthquake, it was as though vibration has a timbre that betrays its origin. It feels like it is coming from the earth, like the evening rumble after a gnarly lunch at Taco del Sol.
A few tectonic plates jockey for elbow room and folks across the Bay Area freak right the hell out. My phone immediately explodes with instant messages after the earthquake. West Coast folks wanted to know if I felt it (jesus, yes). Midwest folks wanted to know if I was okay (as much as a guy on the Pacific Rim can be). East Coast folks wondered when I was going to accept this message from the Lord God that he was going to sink this hippie-infested state into the ocean and move back (fair question).
Amie said she could usually tell when an earthquake was about to happen; this animal instinct that seems to alert everything more perceptive than us that shit is about to go down. Clearly it is a trait I don’t have, as I was freaking right out.
Talking to a colleague the next day I indicated, “You guys really need to figure this shit out. This earthquake problem has gone on for too long.”
“By ‘you guys’ you mean Californians? You don’t consider yourself one yet?”
“Dude,” I declared, “Last night when that quake hit there was not a person in that restaurant that thought I was from here.”