Wednesday 24 August 2011

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The Time I Was In An Earthquake...Kind Of....I Think....

I'm glad nobody got hurt in the earthquake that hit the east coast today.  I'm sure it's a shock to people who live in a relatively inactive seismic area when a shift actually takes place, but you have to admit it's kind of humorous seeing everybody out on the street wondering what to do next.  It was probably particularly funny for Californians, who most likely wouldn't even spill a drop of coffee in a 5.9 earthquake.  It would probably take at least a 7.0 before a Los Angeles driver would even slow down to the posted speed limit.

I live nowhere near earthquake country.  The so called experts keep predicting a big earthquake for Vancouver, but even if the big one did hit right in the middle of the city, it's still not going to cause much damage where I live.  Actually if the entire Vancouver area fell into the ocean, the biggest affect on me would be an increase in my property values as the ocean moves closer to my house.

I do, however, spend plenty of time in California.  I've wondered on occasion what it would feel like to be in a real earthquake.  Not a huge one, but just a little 6.0 or something like that.  Then last year, I got my chance as we were lucky enough to be in Anaheim when an earthquake struck (Yes, for the purposes of this story, that was lucky.) 

It was an average day at Disneyland (Can there be an "average" day at Disneyland?  I mean, you're in the happiest place on Earth!  By definition shouldn't any day at Disneyland be an "above average" day?  Unless you have a really exciting life.  Then maybe.) and the boy and I decided to try and get one more run of Space Mountain in before heading back to the hotel.  The ride was good (I'd even say "above average" life's not that exciting) but as we got off we noticed that they weren't putting anybody else in the cars.  We assumed that the ride had broken down again, as that certainly wouldn't be a rare thing (see here).  On our way out though, we noticed that the lines had stopped moving for almost all the rides. 

We hurried out to catch the shuttle back to the hotel, and on the ride somebody asked if we had felt the earthquake.  What!  There was an earthquake and we missed it?  How is that possible?  My wife says that I never notice anything, but I asssumed she was talking about the baskets of unfolded laundry, not earthquakes. 

We're not the quickest people on the planet, but eventually we put the clues together and realized that the earthquake must have occurred while we were on Space Mountain.  That would explain the ride shutting down, as Disney always retests everything after any kind of tremor.  It certainly didn't make me happy though, to have missed my chance to experience a real California earthquake.  Do you know what a ride on Space Mountain feels like during an earthquake?  It feels like a ride on Space Mountain.

As the shuttle got us back to the hotel, the guests who had actually bothered to leave the hotel during the mandatory evacuation (otherwise known as non-Californians), were being allowed back in.  Up in the room I turned on the TV and scanned for news of this historic event, but apparently in Los Angeles earthquakes aren't noteworthy unless the freeway collapses or a Starbucks closes.  I tried to look for news on the internet, but it wasn't working.  Aha!  The collapse of one of our key methods of communication surely was an indicator that I had survived something major!  Alas, it turned out that my 24 hours of internet time had run out, and I simply had to sign in for the next days allotment.  Upon reconnecting, there was no news of the quake anywhere.

So I'm left with the argument as to whether or not I've been in an earthquake.  I suppose that by virtue of being in the area, I can say that I have.  On the other hand, I can't begin to explain to anyone what it feels like to be in an earthquake.  It's a question for the ages I suppose...If an earthquake happens on Space Mountain, and nobody bothers to report on it, then was Steve really there?