Sunday, August 13, 2006

It was Wellington's Fault

Yesterday I was at the gym, stretching after my workout. Since there’s not much to look at while I’m stretching, I often end up focusing on the emergency procedures poster. Perhaps my psychic abilities were working extra hard, because as I was reading the earthquake procedures, I felt the ground shake. No joke. It was a big rumbling and felt like when you are in a multi-story building and there’s construction work happening on the floor below, or like when you’re in a small building (like a house or something) and a really big truck drives by. I looked around thinking that someone had knocked over a weight tree or a treadmill or something, but no. Still, I figured whatever it was had happened in the other room or outside or whatever, and I forgot about it.

Later I was watching the news and they mentioned “the earthquake today in Wellington.” What?! That was an earthquake?! I know that New Zealand is chock full of seismic activity, and I definitely expected to experience an earthquake at some point here, but I guess earthquakes are just not part of my frame of reference. I am much more used to good old fashioned Midwestern natural disasters like blizzards and tornadoes. Stay off the roads until the snow lets up? Gladly. Hide in the basement waiting for the sirens to stop? No problem. But the idea of the ground actually moving underneath me is pretty scary.

My flatmates, however, were unimpressed by the earthquake or by my reaction to it. “Yeah, they happen all the time,” they yawned. “There have been a couple since you’ve been here—you probably just slept through them.” In fact, Wellingtonians and Kiwis in general are so used to earthquakes that the only news article I could find about it was in the The Hindu, India’s national newspaper.

Okay, fine. So the earthquake was totally not that scary at all, especially since I didn’t actually know it was an earthquake. And Wellington buildings are designed with earthquakes in mind, so in all likelihood I am very safe. But last night as I was falling asleep and a big truck drove by, I did a quick check to make sure there was enough room to hide under my desk.

3 comments:

Big John said...

Ahhhhh, you'll get used to it. After my first earthquake, I thought I felt an earthquake ever 5 five minutes for the next 6 months. Or maybe I'm crazy. Need to get that checked out.

Jennifer said...

Yup... they're weird! Wait until you feel the rolling kind....

teana said...

see, earthquakes are nothing. i've been telling you that for years. soon you'll be as nonchalant as your flatmates. then you'll be totally ready to live in california.