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Posted on Aug 24, 2011 in Dear Diary | 42 comments

Shake it Like a Polaroid Picture


I guess that the Earth was channeling some serious Outkast yesterday.

‘Cause in case you hadn’t heard (or read, or felt) there was, like, an earthquake or something.

A 5.8 on the Richter scale, all the way from NC up to Ontario (that’s Canada, folks! Schwaa?)

No, not that Richter, you silly geese.

This Richter.

At first I thought someone was running down the hall. And maybe was jumping up and down a little. And then a lot. And then when I realized that it was an earthquake, I couldn’t help but laugh. Seriously? An earthquake in DC? A significant earthquake in DC?! I lived in Taiwan for three years and never felt one so big! (That’s what she said.)

It did lead to a rather short workday, so I suppose I can’t really complain. You know, what with having to evacuate the building for several hours along with every other worker in L’Enfant.

Somehow, we survived.

But clearly suffered so. Hehe.

Ben texted me a picture of the effect the quake had at home.



At least you can’t say I don’t have my priorities straight.

As you can probably imagine, metroing home was the worst part of it all for me. All lines were on a 15 mph restriction, Orange Line was single-tracking part of the way, and everyone and their mom was trying to go home at the same time. Still, I know I shouldn’t complain too loudly, since I was one of the lucky ones. There were still open seats when I got on the train (we barely made it two stops before we were over-capacity though.) It ended up taking me about 1.5 hours to get home, more than double my normal commute, but I know it took others much, much longer. The train ahead of us even had to offload all its passengers at the Rosslyn stop because they were misbehaving and trying to cram too many people on! Yeesh.

Some people just can’t follow the rules.

Did you experience the East Coast earthquake? What, where, who, why, how?


  1. Southern Maryland, near the Chesapeake Bay, 3rd floor of work building (apparently we were 83 miles from the epicenter). We all just stood around for 30 seconds or so before deciding we needed to not be inside… Turns out more people are hurt trying to get outside than would be hurt if we had all just stayed put? Silly.

    Did you guys have a lot of “we’re allowed to go back in the building? Wait, no we’re not! Evacuate again!” action? The confusion was my fav part… except not.

    • It was more just like “So…. when are we allowed to go back in? Oh, it’s been an hour already? Let’s go get a beer.” But yeah, not so fun to be standing under the blazing sun once everyone figured out it really wasn’t too bad of a quake. Ah well, half day!

  2. “I lived in Taiwan for three years and never felt one so big! (That’s what she said.)” <–Probably one of the best uses for TWSS EVER.

    • Bahahaha, glad you approve. πŸ˜‰

  3. I picked the right day to work from home — felt the shaking, checked Twitter to be sure my neighborhood wasn’t being bombed, and got back to work. As my office evacuated, I was the only productive one! πŸ˜‰

    • Maybe you have a sixth-sense for natural disasters… any idea how Hurricane Irene is going to turn out? πŸ˜€

  4. I didn’t feel it in GA. But I happened to get on facebook right after that and like every single status update was about it (I have a lot of friends in the DC area since I grew up there) which felt very surreal and almost like a prank was being played on me!

    • That’s what a lot of people further South said, they were tweeting stuff like “Is this a joke, or is this really happening?” Haha

  5. I learned of the earthquake on Facebook — that is crazy that so many people/states felt it! I’m glad you’re ok (and the puppies and tv too!)

  6. BAHHAHAHAHHAHAAHHA I couldn’t love you more if I tried. At least you got beer, though! Damn, I’m jealous! My metro ride was VERY similar and people were smelly. It was NOT ideal.

    • At least you did eventually make it home…? Was there any damage at your house?

  7. If you check out my blog, I have a detailed post about my earthquake experience. But I was at home, about 40 miles south of Richmond, when the earthquake with my sister. I thought it was a helicopter going over and then my sister was like “I think it’s an earthquake.” I think until that moment, earthquake had not crossed my mind. I thought something was about to hit my house! And my Westie was a little nervous. ={

    • Crazy that your aunt didn’t even feel anything happen, right across the street from you!

      • Well she had been in the car driving when it happened but I mean, it was pretty intense! And then later she missed the aftershock (I don’t know if y’all felt the aftershock at about 8 p.m.)

        • I didn’t, I only heard about the aftershocks this morning after I got to work! We must have been far enough away, I guess? Or I just wasn’t paying attention, hahaha.

  8. Yea so about that. Ha I was actually relieved to have to work until 8pm so I missed the schweaty mess on the metro. Still took me an hour and a half to get home though. SUCKS but I really wasn’t all that frustrated. Could have been way worse! We survived a natural disaster! Wooooot cross it off the bucket list!

    • Hahaha, you may be surviving another one if Hurrican Irene stays on the warpath!

  9. I’m in Raleigh, N.C., and felt the earthquake. First one ever! It was kinda cool (because there was no damage, obviously), but I had no idea what was happening until it was over. I don’t even know what to do when there’s an earthquake. Sit at my desk and look around dumbfounded probably is not the recommended course of action. Anyway, it’s cool to see bloggers write about a shared experience! haha

    • I know! I’m really loving getting to read about everyone’s different experience with it. It stretched from Charleston to Toronto!!

  10. haha, enjoyed your texts!

  11. I felt it! But i survived with the help of some post-disaster happy hour drinks. Getting home around 9pm wasn’t so bad. =)

  12. I was here in Baltimore in my basement office of a 12 story building. Huge trucks pass over all the time so I hear rumbling often. But none like yesterday’s that shook my whole desk before. Now everytime a truck passes over my office I seize up a bit expecting the real deal…fun. lol

  13. I live in Ontario – about an hour outside Toronto. I didn’t feel anything personally but received a number of text messages from friends. Crazy! No falling books to photograph though. Haha.

    • Apparently Samantha in Windsor (commenter above) felt it! I guess it all just really depends on where you are — down to the mile!

  14. Scary! Glad everything and everyone is okay…especially your dogs and TV.

  15. I love Dwight Schrute with all my heart! Thanks for the laugh.

    The earthquake sounds frightening though, living in the midwest I could never imagine one! Tornadoes on the other hand..

    • I’m going to go ahead and say I’d rather deal with an earthquake than a tornado. Although let’s be honest, I’d rather deal with neither.

  16. I love your references, especially to Freaky Friday! Totally gave me a good laugh πŸ™‚

    I missed the worst of the traffic after working late, but downtown DC was a mess for most of the night.

    So glad we were able to meet over the weekend, you were such a blast to share a cab with!

    • Totally underrated movie. Oh Lindsay, how far you have fallen…

  17. Felt it in Raleigh, NC on the 3rd floor of my office building! Strangest part is a lot of people at the street level never felt it. One of my bosses returned right as it ended and was so disappointed he missed out! It was definitely a freaky experience for me!!

  18. Hi-lar-ious post! I was at the office when we felt it. It was so surreal. Glad to hear you guys are ok! πŸ™‚

    • You too! I don’t think that I’ve really heard of anyone who got hurt from the quake, have you? The worst damage I heard about was at the National Cathedral… sad.

      • I haven’t heard of anyone seriously hurt either. Thanks goodness right?!

        Ah yes, I heard about that. I hope it can get fixed without too many hindrances!

  19. Haha I LOL’ed at the picture of the “devastation” in your apartment! There are some funny photos floating around of peoples “losses” [tipped over chairs]… Thankfully we all can laugh now about it since there wasn’t any severe damage, but hopefully this was the wake up call the east coast needed and now realize that earthquakes can happen on this side of the country!

    • Right? I think that’s why it took a second for it all to register, even though I’ve experienced earthquakes before. It’s DC! You wouldn’t think that we’d ever feel them here but we definitely all need to have our contingency plans mapped out for ANY kind of crazy situation.

      • Haha, I know- all of the CA folk just laughed at us, it’s not our fault we don’t live on a fault πŸ˜› And just when we think the traffic couldn’t get any worse [i.e. Beltway backups]…

  20. I can also vouch that we felt it all the way up here in Canada. I was in the middle of a meeting and two of us felt it just paused for a second. It was so small though that the three other people had no idea we just felt the tail end of it.
    Unfortunately, we didn’t get to leave work early.

  21. Haha what a great post Gretchen, glad to see you survived the earthquake too!! Yesterday was pretty crazy that’s for sure, oh the random things that happen in DC πŸ™‚

  22. I am soo happy we all survived!!!! And I am glad you babies are ok!!

    • I like to think that surviving a natural disaster has bonded us as a Coast… and made California hate us all the more. Hahaha

  23. CRAZY! glad to hear everyone is ok (except the picture frames πŸ™ haha) But it sounds like you guys survived! Here in STL we have had a few earthquakes, once I just thought someone was shaking my bed (ghost? haha) but ended up just being a small one


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