There was an earthquake here yesterday. The day was bright and beautiful and clear as a bell. I'd just come inside from dropping Paddy off at the pool to lifeguard and I hustled Sarah into the bathroom before taking her to the doctor. There, the house shook and a low rumble filled the air for what seemed like a very long time. I yelled to my kids to stop roughhousing in the house (though I couldn't imagine what they were doing to make the whole house shake). When they said they weren't doing anything, I told them to turn off the washer. Most crazy off-balance spin cycle ever. They told me the trees outside were shaking. We all figured out that it was an earthquake just as it ended.
Three trophies fell from an upstairs shelf. They broke. No big deal. They were Division 2 trophies.
I talked to my sister--the queeen of hyperbole--and learned there was a tidal wave in her backyard pool. I checked in with my mom and my dad. I left a message on Mike's voice mail. He called back a few minutes later and we briefly connected before his phone went dead. That happens all the time.
I scooped up Sarah and we went to the previously scheduled doctor's appointment. Business as usual. I thought about how it was kind of cool to have felt an earthquake, particularly since there were no reported serous injuries or deaths.
Most of my children left to go a long-anticipated sleepover at their cousins' house. Mike's sister commented that it was taking her husband forever to get out of the city. Mike decided to stay and wait out the crowd. So, the handful of people left at home ordered Chinese carryout. They watched a movie and I sewed.
Mike returned home around 9:00. I asked him if he'd been in his office when the earthquake happened. He said that he was two stories underground in the studio. He described the same thing we felt here. Only he was underground. A stone's throw from the White House. He didn't think roughhousing kids. He didn't think off-balance washing machine. He thought "if that was a bomb I should..." "If that was a plane I should..."
When you work in Washington, D.C., you don't think first of earthquakes, you think of a clear September day ten years ago and you think of bad guys who would be tickled to watch the federal government scramble in fear and chaos. When he told me about his earthquake moments, it stopped me in my tracks. It still brings tears to my eyes.
That studio is in the basement of ABC Washington. It didn't take long to find out it was an earthquake. Mike went outside and saw the panic in the streets. It's easy to poke fun of the silly people in Washington, DC who are overreacting to a minor earthquake. And it's the fun thing to do to get on Facebook and giggle over incompetent folks who work in our nation's capitol. But it's another thing entirely to think about my dear man, working to support his family yesterday and wondering if the world had been rocked the way it was ten years ago. No matter what I think about our government and the people who do or don't get things done in DC, I have to applaud the courage of the men and women who got back in their cars this morning and drove over those bridges. Because really, it's hard to shake that "what if" feeling.