Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Whole Lot of Shaking Going On*

If you watch the news, you've probably heard that the East Coast experienced an earthquake yesterday. It was their biggest in 70 years. But, since it was the East Coast, an area not known for earthquakes of any large magnitude, the "biggest in 70 years" registered at 5.8 on the Richter scale.

For what is considered (by West Coast standards) a moderate quake, New York collectively wet itself in fear. Buildings were evacuated, transportation was disrupted, and people talked about it as if it were the apocalypse. Which makes complete sense if you haven't felt an earthquake in forever. Or ever for that matter. Plus with the anniversary of the September 11th attacks close at hand, it's quite likely that the people flooding out of buildings weren't thinking they were experiencing a natural phenomenon. Even if you did realize what it was, you probably also realized that your building was not constructed to deal with such tectonic shenanigans. At that point, panic and terror seem like pretty good options.

In response to this, the compassionate and ever sympathetic people on the West Coast laughed so hard they almost choked on their mirth. Twitter and Facebook became lousy with West Coasters taunting East Coastians (I feel the East Coast deserves an "ians" ending because it sounds more Ivy League) about their inability to deal with an earthquake "only big enough to stir a drink." A good laugh was had by all (West of the 111th meridian).

Which is why it was so shameful to wake up this morning and hear someone on the news describe the 3.6 earthquake we experienced last night as "forceful." What? Are you kidding me? You just spent the better part of 12 hours ridiculing New Yorkers for being wimps only to get bothered by a three point six? The news this morning should have been "Earthquake in Bay Area, Local Response: 'Meh.'"

But then earlier today there was a 7.0 in Peru. No casualties or damages thankfully, but that's not a number to sneeze at. And of course, the Japanese 8.9 was not too long ago. Nor was Haiti's 7.0. So perhaps instead of making light of the situation, we should be reminded of our vulnerabilities and need for preparation instead of boasting how we can handle it. Cause if memory serves me correct, we couldn't handle a 7.1 all that well.

That being said, it was nice to have one up on the East Coast after suffering through years of them telling us how we don't know what "real heat" or "real cold" is like. You're right, we don't. And that's why it's perfect out here. Earthquakes and all.
posted by jw

* That title is extremely lame. I apologize.