Seattle had an earthquake back in 2001 called the Nisqually quake. I was working at a prior job and sitting at my desk when there was a rumbling. Not a jerky rumbling, but a rolling, shaking kind of rumble. It took a minute to register that we were having an earthquake, and by then one of my coworkers was zipping up a set of blinds and whooping it up in the conference room across from me like he’d just won the lottery. I was terrified and my mother (yes, I worked with my mother) was screaming down the hall, EARTHQUAKE! EARTHQUAKE! in the event that no one noticed that the building, built atop a marsh, was now shaking violently and the ceiling was collapsing around us. I can only liken it to what it must have felt like for the hamster my sister had in grade school when it tumbled down the stairs in its little plastic ball and landed at the bottom, frozen in fear. We thought it was dead but it was just stiffened by the shock. That’s how I felt except that hamster didn’t have its mother screaming at it the whole time. EARTHQUAKE! GET IN A DOORWAY! EARTHQUAKE! THIS IS AN EARTHQUAKE! EARTHQUAKE! EAAARRRRTTHHQQUAAAAAAAAAAAAKKKEE!
I am not even joking about this.
After the worst of it had passed, we all headed outside to the parking lot where several lamp posts had been pulled out of the ground and fell over. That’s when I broke down and cried in front of many coworkers, my mother and my brother (yeah, I worked with my brother, too). It was awful and ever since that day, even the slightest rumble makes me want to throw up and cry. The Internet and I have diagnosed me with PTSD. There are few things more terrifying to me than being stuck inside a building when the shaking starts. My coworkers have been warned that though I am a floor warden, I will freak out in the event of an earthquake and they best just punch me out and carry me down the stairs because the hysteria will be unimaginable and grotesque. I’ll make ugly crying face. YOU WILL NOT WANT TO SEE UGLY CRYING FACE. It will steal your soul.
Understandably, this Haiti earthquake is beyond horrific to me. I feel for them because they are living my greatest fear. This is real-life to them. I cannot imagine what it must be like to see your world literally crumble around you, sometimes on top of you, and I have imagined a lot of horrific earthquake scenarios in my day. One in particular involves being trapped under rubble with Celine Dion while she sings All By Myself and another involves John Laroquette that I can’t talk about here or ever.
I don’t want to trivialize the events going on right now in Haiti. It’s truly horrific. Some think the casualties could be as high as 100,000 or more. Unimagineable.
If you’re interested in donating to the relief efforts, one option is as simple as sending a text and being billed through your carrier: You can text “HAITI” to 90999 to donate $10 to Red Cross relief efforts. Your cell carrier keeps nothing. You can also donate directly on their website.
Now would be an excellent time to update or create your own emergency kits at home and work. The Red Cross has excellent resources on how and what to prepare.