I felt the Earth move under my feet

Everyone in California is pretty much going to laugh at this. I don’t care. It is my blog post, and it is interesting to me, so I’m going to write it. And yes, I’m going to make myself sound very heroic, like a true survivor who has a wondrous tale to spin. A daring adventurer, full of conquest and deserving of admiration. I also want to apologize for the lateness of getting this article written and posted. After all, after enduring such a remarkable experience, it took some time to overcome my emotional high. Plus there were the obligatory media interviews, parades, parties and celebrations thrown in my honor upon my triumphant return home. All of these distracted me from recording my true-life adventure for all to read.

I was in Anahiem, CA (no surprise there) on the evening of Sunday, May 17, 2009. I had been working at the Anahiem convention center, setting up the booth, working the show floor, and then packing the booth away at the California Dental Association’s exhibit hall. All of that standing on my feet, accompanied by the obligatory trip to the Magic Kingdom on Saturday night from 6:00 pm – midnight, made me feel as though I deserved a rest.

I had wandered my way through Downtown Disney, enjoying some wonderful blues music played by Brother Yusef out on the street. I found my way to the Paradise Pier Hotel, where I meandered up to the third floor pool and observation deck. In this section of the building, this was the roof. For the rest of the building, the rooms continue up many stories higher (see photos here).

I had arrived early to stake out my position for a view of the evening fireworks at Disneyland. I sat in a tall chair, close enough to the railing that I could prop my feet up high and change the blood flow through my legs. If you ever want to view the fireworks but cannot go inside the park, this is the best location to do so, as they also play the music with it.

It was at about 8:45 pm, local time, that it happened. A 4.7 earthquake, centered close to LAX,  rolled through this part of the state. The first jolt was the hardest. It felt as though the entire building swayed, startling me from my relaxed position at the railing. I brought my feet down quickly and sat up, at once recognizing it was, and at the same time questing if it really was, an earthquake. All the earthquake training I had received came flooding my mind; how I should get under a desk or in a doorway.

As the second rolling motion came through (a little less powerful than the first), I instinctively started looking around me, and saw that there was nothing close to me that could possibly fall on me. I reasoned that if the building didn’t crumble, I had nothing to worry about, and so I settled my fears and chose to ride it out and enjoy the experience.

The third rolling motion occurred, gently and almost unnoticed compared to the first two. It may have been a reaction of the building swaying more than anything.

As I sat wondering, “Is that it?” some native Californians nearby began to cheer and applaud.

Within about 5 seconds time, I survived my first earthquake experience unscathed (as apparently everyone else but one person in the state did too).

2 thoughts on “I felt the Earth move under my feet”

  1. You are lucky you remember all your earthquake training. All I can remember is the video with the old people sleeping. “It’s not if, but when.”

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