Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mother Nature's Beatdown



First an earthquake, followed this weekend by a hurricane? For heaven's sake!

To be honest, I enjoyed Tuesday's earthquake. After Loma Prieta in 1989, I swore I could live a long and happy life without ever experiencing another quake. That was so scary. But Tuesday, in the midst of the shaking, standing in the Sufi acupuncturist's office, I was smiling while everyone else looked a bit stricken. It was fun for me. I loved all the interaction among strangers that took place during the 24 hours after the quake.

What I forgot is that I live in the District of Unreinforced Masonry. I saw lots of external damage on houses here on the Hill yesterday, read about the Washington Monument, the National Cathedral. Yikes.

In San Francisco, every new building can rock and roll with the quakes. Davies Symphony Hall, where I worked, was built on rollers. The building literally rolled back and forth during earthquakes. Though structurally better for the whole building, the people who were still in the Hall when the quake struck said they were knocked off their feet.

At the center of the Transamerica Pyramid there's a pendulum thingie, some sort of super serious wire that's attached to the top of the building, with a heavy weight at ground level. When there's a quake, the pyramid is meant to sway back and forth; the pendulum keeps it from swinging too far. Can you imagine working on one of the top floors during a quake? Whoa.

One of my theories about why the cultural norm in San Francisco (and most of northern California) is a bit wacky comes from the fact that the land never holds still there. I'm curious to see whether Tuesday's earthquake will inspire a little more looseness among we tight lipped Washingtonians. It did for awhile.

Hurricanes are a different matter entirely. DC is a city full not only of unreinforced masonry, but lots and lots of trees. Big storms are frightening - the trees whip around, branches crack, trees crash into roofs, on top of cars. I baked a cake yesterday, and stocked up on groceries. Also bought some vodka. If there's going to be a hurricane, there will be martinis.

Life in Washington DC this week is crazy. Wish us well! Shalom.

20 comments:

Washington Cube said...

I'm taking time today to get: 1) full tank of gas; 2) groceries; 3) library books; and 4)laundry done...worried about power outages. You're right about the trees. I have some monsters in my yard, and I've been wondering if the earthquake loosened their root systems and this next bout of high wind will bring them down. I've got two oaks over 60+ feet next to my house and a huge beech--all of them "virgin forest" been there forever trees not to mention two full scale hollies and three maples. I feel like my house is "bulls eye."

Reya Mellicker said...

That's all you need, Cube. Contact the forces of protection - please!

steven said...

last night a big old storm roared in with tornado watches and endless lightning!! it made me laugh out loud and run in and out of doors which wasn't what my daughter really wanted or needed apparently but there you are. i love the electricity, the clouds that leap into life out of the darkness when lightning plays across their bodies and the sear and crackle of a near hit lightning stroke followed by the thoughtful grumble of its echoes.
i'm not comfortable with damage or people being hurt by anything ... but planetary realignment and reorganization is a constant that simply is. steven

Reya Mellicker said...

Steven I can imagine you dancing in shamanic alignment with the storm, I can. I would be dancing with you!

Cyndy said...

I'm gigging in NJ on Saturday and Sunday so while I don't have to worry about our big old cedar tree falling on my car, I do have to worry about it landing on our house while we're not there to do anything about it. Like Cube I really hope the earthquake didn't loosen it. It's the only really big tree we have left.

Gary said...

Martinis! I think this is part of the mixology of Reya. I may join you.

Reya Mellicker said...

C'mon, Gary, yeah. The mixology of Reya. Love that!! Love you. x

Val said...

Reya - i just hope your martinis are stirred and not shaken! will be thinking of you all x

Reya Mellicker said...

Val - ha!

Elizabeth said...

Plagues of locusts next?!!!!

oxox

Reya Mellicker said...

I hope not!

ellen abbott said...

I've hunkered down through several hurricanes throughout my lifetime. I can think of at least four that were direct hits, the eye passing over where I was. the last two or three I sat out in my solid 100 year old house. they built them to last back then. I'd hate to be in a modern home sitting one out. The last one, my neighbor's brand new house shook and creaked and even leaked a little where my old house was solid as a rock. My main fear was a tree falling on us which did happen to other neighbors around us.

I'm so far out of the news loop that I don't know when it is supposed to be hitting you, maybe right now as I write.

Preparations depend on how strong it is and if it's going to be a direct hit. I'm sure there's plenty of people telling you how to prepare. Be safe.

Reya Mellicker said...

Ellen I will, I promise!

Steve Reed said...

Glad you weathered the quake, Reya. "Something's gotta give," indeed! Who ever heard of an earthquake in Washington? Anyway, glad you're well, and I hope the hurricane turns out to be merely another festive occasion. :)

Kerry said...

Exciting times there in DC; I have my fingers crossed that no further damage occurs. There is that pre-storm anticipation though, isn't there? Sounds like you're ready for this one, come what may.

Reya Mellicker said...

I don't know if we're ready or not. I guess we'll see!

Gary said...

Love you back!

xo

Pam said...

Yes, I certainly do wish you well Reya. Your earthquake and footage were reported on the nightime t.v. news here in Australia. I'll tune in tonight re the hurricane.

Tom said...

snowstorms, heat waves, earthquakes..now this? Might be someone trying to tell you to get out of town for awhile...or just have a hurricane party!

Reya Mellicker said...

Wish you could be here for the party, Tom, since you love weather as much as I do. Cheers!