I don’t know if you all watch the news, but the east coast… that’s right Eileen the “east coast” - suffered a 5.9 earthquake yesterday.
I was heading back to my office after lunch wondering if the window washers were at it again when I saw the windows shake slightly. It took about five seconds to register what was happening. (I experienced an earthquake once when living in Seattle many many years ago so eventually I got a clue.)
I urged everyone under the doorways. I think I saw that in a movie or television show once – so it's good that I was using TV as some kind of survival guide.
Then I rode it out for a couple of more seconds with my co-workers. I might have giggled nervously. I might have.
When something like this happens you naturally take stock. What might have been if…? What was the worst that could have happened? More importantly… how did you react?
I’m a big believer in people finding out the most about themselves in crisis. As writers - isn't that what we are always doing with our characters? Natural disaster is one of those ‘BIG’ moments. What are your instincts? How does the adrenaline rush feel? What do you really want to do when crash hits? Have sex (like in so many romance novels) or lie down and take a Tylenol?
This was a minor event. A small tremor where for maybe 10 seconds total the earth shook and it freaked me the hell out. I didn’t cry. My first instinct was to tell people what to do (not shocking) and I tried to laugh as if it was okay but really I was wondering like everyone else if the building was suddenly going to collapse.
I want to point out… bring me a hurricane any day of the week. This we understand in New Jersey. Earthquake, mudslides, fires and tornados… not so much.
This will be good for my writing. We take so much of what we extrapolate from real life “as seen on the news” into how we think our characters will behave in certain situations. This is a good reminder the real thing – no matter how scary – is good research.
What about you? Did any of you shake a little?