There are different kinds of quakes. Some roll, building up slowly. Others snap sharp and short. The Loma Prieta quake started and then refused to stop. It just kept going and going and the pipes and windows all around us just kept exploding and imploding. It was a terrifying and messy affair. Holding hands. we crawled out of the building together.
On the street aftershocks literally knocked us to the ground. Someone ran through the streets screaming that the Bay Bridge had fallen down. A few blocks away, two buildings had pancaked and were split wide open like doll houses. A thin stream of smoke curled up out of one of them. An open gas line would make this the bon fire of the century by evening. A young woman, my age, also engaged, died in the building.
Since my building was “red tagged” as uninhabitable, I wasn’t able to go in and get possessions for a few weeks. At that point, we salvaged what we could and let the bulldozer get the rest. In the meantime, foreign tourists flocked to the Marina District like vultures. We were pushing grocery carts with remnants of belongings through police tape and they were snapping pictures like it was Disneyland.
The east coasters, especially those in the big cities, must have been so frightened by their Tuesday terror. We had experienced warm-ups to our big one: 3’s, 4’s and 5’s through the years to prep us. So when it hit the big time, we were still frightened out of our minds, but at least we knew to get in the door jam because it wasn’t just the Divisidero bus thundering by. They probably had little experience at this and I’m sure everyone’s thoughts went to one thing and one thing only.
In reality, running out of a building isn’t too smart. Remember: brace yourself in a door jam or crawl under a desk or table. Earthquakes love brick and glass because they fly through the air with the greatest of ease.
Seems fault lines run all through this great nation of ours. And I’m not talking Dems versus wing nuts.
Earthquakes. Wow, they are so not fun. I am thankful this one wasn't worse.