Monday, September 14, 2009

Shaking things up

Residents of San Benito County are fond of saying, "Ooh, it's earthquake weather today." This either means: A. It's kind of muggy with high cirrus clouds; B. It's not muggy and there are no clouds; C. People just make stuff up because they remember that we haven't had an earthquake in a while. The United States Geological Survey says "there is no connection between weather and earthquakes," and I believe it. I also believe there IS a connection between me being in a deep sleep and the occurrence of earthquakes. Our most recent good-sized temblor occurred at 2:47 a.m. on Sept. 6. At a magnitude of 3.9, it was one of those shakers that felt like a sonic boom -- at least that's how I remembered it when it rattled me awake. As soon as it hit, I sat up, thought about jumping over my wife and running to my youngest son's room, then announced, "It's OK" as my wife was startled awake. I felt like the man of the house, telling everyone that everything would be fine in this time of danger. In fact, I laid back down with my heart pounding through my chest as I tried to fall back asleep. I couldn't, of course, so I checked on my son, who said "What was that?" and immediately fell back asleep when I said, "It was an earthquake, but it's over now." Why couldn't the quake have happened at 2:47 p.m. when I would have been at work ... and awake? My heart might have pounded just as hard after a daytime temblor, but the fear factor of the middle-of-the-night, wake-you-from-a-deep-sleep quake makes a relatively minor quake like that feel like the beginning of the end of the world. Being rustled by quakes is part of the cost of living in the earthquake capital of the world. I just hope the next one has the courtesy of shaking things up during waking hours. (photo courtesy of Brooke Anderson's Photostream: