Friday, August 1, 2008

5.8? No, 5.4

So there I was talking with a co-worker about a manual I was writing, when the building started shaking like a bag of jelly. I suggested, "Looks like it's time to go outside then." But surprisingly there were no takers. People were just standing around, kind of frozen. Some acoustic ceiling tile fell about this time. The shaking was done, in fact the quake was done. And I was kind of frozen too, just 'cause no one else was moving.

Another guy said "Come on. Let's go outside. Who are the real native californians here?" and the spell was broken. We went down the stairwell. Part of the way down the stairwell the panic started to take effect among some. They started rushing past where I and others were to get outside.

It's a funny thing. I felt the trouble was already passed, but wanted to get outside to make sure. I later heard that you're not supposed to go outside. Maybe if there's no clear open space nearby, and you're in danger of being clobbered by power lines or falling debris. Otherwise I consider the stay-inside strategy pure nonsense.

Soon everyone was in the courtyard, chatting it up but no one relaxed enough to have a cigarette. We started a betting pool. I went with 5.3, another co-worker went with 5.4.

Several hours we were all back in the office, and all the power went off. Everyone's computers went down. I'm just a contractor - like "I'm just a caveman" - but maybe we should have something ready for that contingency.

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