5.8, or "But Did Thee Feel the Earth Move?"

The two biggest events on my mind today are Susie’s imminent return to Columbus (her plane will be landing at Port Columbus at 6:35 p.m. tomorrow night), and the earthquake that briefly rattled us here in Columbus today. The “5.8” title I gave this entry refers to the Richter scale reading. The other title is a line from For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Hemingway, a post-coital question that has become a cliché for romance (and comedy) writers worldwide.
We did feel the earth move at work today. The day was a slow one, as it often seems to me when I’m transcribing my least favorite doctor. Just before 2 p.m., I was at my desk releasing a batch of ex parte orders I had typed earlier in the day, when I saw my computer monitor jiggle just a little bit. At first, I thought I was seeing things–my mind was on an appointment later that afternoon, and I can’t always trust my senses when I’m not sleeping well. I realized I wasn’t hallucinating when two ballpoint pens perched near the edge of my desk rolled off onto the plastic mat under my chair’s wheels. I jumped a little when they hit.
Two women who work in my area were giving each other What was that? looks, and one said, “Did you feel that?” The other said yes, although no one had any idea what “that” might be.
People in other sections of the 10th floor said they felt something as well. That was when the word earthquake began to travel from person to person–it was almost visible. The thought didn’t come to mind, even after I saw the pens fall from my desk to the floor. A new supervisor is moving into our department, and I thought that workers transporting furniture into what will be her office were rolling something heavy (like a credenza or a desk) over a bump in the carpet.
I collapsed my work-related screen and pulled up The Weather Channel’s Website. Even after typing in the ZIP code for my office building (43215), there was nothing about the earthquake, except in Tweets from readers (viewers?). There was a one-paragraph story about an earthquake in Virginia, however. I don’t have access to Twitter or Facebook at work, but I can post to Twitter by sending texts from my cell phone. So, once I learned about the Virginia earthquake, I texted, Think we got a piece of the earthquake that hit Virginia. Shook my monitor and knocked some pens on the floor. My Twitter posts simultaneously appear on my Facebook page, and within minutes my friend Ivan in Vermont emailed me that he had been at the library in Fair Haven and his table wobbled. Another friend posted House rolling here in Massachusetts.

This is my second earthquake. I experienced a similar one in the summer of 1980, during my first visit to Cincinnati (no idea it would be my home by the end of the decade!). I was staying at a friend’s house in College Hill, and mid-Sunday afternoon, I was riding a bike down his driveway and felt a small tremor, like an elevator stopping too abruptly. My friend’s neighbors came out of their houses, and the word “earthquake” came up almost right away. One of the people had a weather band on his radio, and sure enough, that’s what it was. I called Dad in Marietta, and he had felt it there as well.
The epicenter of this earthquake seems to be near Louisa, Virginia. This is a small town (pop. 1401), but I had heard of it. It is home to Twin Oaks Community, an intentional community that is still going strong, 44 years after its humble beginnings on a former tobacco farm. At loose ends as the end of high school neared, I wrote to Twin Oaks, contemplating going to live there, back in the long-ago days when I thought I could live communally. (I have nothing but respect for those who are able to do it, and who do; I just don’t think I’m wired that way psychologically).
Below is an unusual move for this blog. I started this entry by clicking the Blog this! post from WBNS-TV’s (Channel 10) Website, where the earthquake was the lead story. I wasn’t home at 6 p.m., so I watched the news from their site. So, I’ve written this entry around the link to the video of tonight’s news.
Since I sometimes allude to the music I’m playing while I type these entries, I want to go on record as saying that I don’t have Carole King’s album Tapestry ripped to this laptop, so therefore I was unable to commemorate the day by playing “I Feel the Earth Move.” (I’m actually listening to The Marcels’ cover of “Blue Moon,” from 1961.)

Quake Rattles Buildings In Central Ohio

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