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Banbury Cross

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Post details: My First Earthquake

My First Earthquake

One of the signs of a mature age is that the "firsts" start disappearing from your life. When you are young, you get a first almost on a weekly basis. Your first tooth, your first Oreo cookie, your first falling star, your first lizard, your first soccer game, your first scraped knee, your first skates, your first day at school, your first hangover. The fun seems endless. But as we chug along through the stream of life and our firsts get rarer and rarer, we better savor each and every one we get.

Today, around 1.51pm local time, the Washington, DC area was hit by an unlikely 5.8M earthquake with epicenter near Mineral, VA, about 100 miles south of where I live. Of course, Californians would scoff at such pathetic shiver, but for many of us here on the East Coast this was a big deal. Our first earthquake. Whether it was a direct message from God to the Capitol as some far right and far out media quipped, or just a geological outlier, it was an experience we will all remember.

I was sitting in my office, not suspecting anything out of the ordinary, when I felt a large disgruntled dinosaur rushing by on the street. Slightly puzzled by the attendant shudder, I stepped out into a hallway and saw a pale faced colleague who just hissed "get out" and without missing a beat continued on his way to the door. The scenery did not seem very catastrophic or anything, but a sense of urgency in his voice made me follow. In the stairwell, we found that others had the same idea. We poured out into the beautiful sunny day and started loitering in the parking lot, cursorily scanning the building walls for cracks. I walked around the corner to see if I could spot the dinosaur who caused this hullabaloo, but it must have gone to the post office or something. I returned to the group and awaited further signs of the pending apocalypse. None showed up. The sky wasn't particularly livid this afternoon, and the four horsemen probably took a day off, so we figured that the show was over and returned to work.

But we sure live in exciting times.

Last year we had a record breaking blizzard, this year a rare earthquake and next year, Mayan Gods permitting, we should have the end of the world on our plate.


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