>Back in 1989, October 17th was just another school day for me in Vacaville. I remember the weather was warm and sunny. Honestly, I don’t remember anything before 5:04 PM. Well, maybe a few seconds before, I remember that I was sitting at the dining table doing homework. Suddenly, it felt like someone grabbed my chair and started to swirl it. I looked up to see who was behind me, but no one was there. That’s when I noticed something odd in the backyard. The water in our pool was sloshing around. None of it was spilling out, but it looked like a small whale rolling around the cement hole.
My mom started yelling from the kitchen, “Get in the doorway!” By the time my brain engaged and I finally jumped up from my chair and ran to the nearest doorway, the shaking had stopped. The power was out. The phones were dead. All of this happened in a matter of 10 seconds.
When the power kicked back on a few minutes later, the devastation on TV was beyond comprehension. 60 miles away, a section of the Bay Bridge collapsed. I like how Wikipedia calls it minor damage. Double decker freeways around the bay had flattened. Buildings in the Marina district sank.
I remember sitting in first period the next day. There was no way anyone was going to be able to concentrate on biology. We were all sharing stories. Amazingly, some of my friends didn’t even feel the earthquake. They were at softball practice and too busy running around a field to notice the strange rumblings in the earth.
This was the first earthquake I’d felt. Since then I think I’ve been through about 8, give or take a few. By the time you realized it’s an earthquake, it’s all over. Your brain comes up with a myriad of other reasons why the counter is rolling back and forth or why the giant picture window in the restaurant just did the wave.
Earthquakes are such strange things. It’s not like a hurricane or tornado. You can see those coming and take cover. The possibility of a quake looms over your head ever day. All you can do is be prepared with enough supplies to get through the aftermath and hope all those building codes are being enforced.