I’m sure this all has been said before, in much greater detail and many funnier anecdotes, but…
Dude, I knew in the back of my mind that quakes do, occasionally, hit the East Coast, but quakes are, largely, something that happens to other people in other, more exotic locales.
So earthquakes might have hit the East Coast before I was born, and they might hit after I have died and/or moved away, but they weren’t the sort of thing that would happen while I was here. Until today, at least.
Yes, it was a 5.9 magnitude quake with its epicenter in Virginia. Yes, I felt it in Philly, but Shu (who was less than five miles away at the apartment) did not. I listened to KYW on the way home, and apparently lots of people evacuated their office buildings then took it as an excuse to go home early. Which was rather futile if they were depending on the public transportation system, because that was what suffered the largest disruption. We didn’t bother evacuating, but some of us did scoff at the email sent around assuring us that the building had been built to withstand earthquakes originating hundreds of miles away.
(I was not a scoffer. As far as I’m concerned, it was nothing more dramatic than a prolonged rumbling which might be generated by an extremely heavy cart being trundled down the aisle. Right next to me. A really heavy cart with a lame wheel. Anyway, I was not one of the people hanging around doorways muttering about aftershocks. Which is really all you need to know.)
Some areas of the White House and Pentagon were evacuated, which prompted Eric the Intern to remark that, has this happened in the 50s, people would have probably looked toward DC expecting to see a mushroom cloud.
We are in 2011, however, and it took mere minutes for the KYW site to have “EAST COAST ROCKED BY QUAKE” emblazoned across its front page.
I love the internet.