Friday, December 19, 2008

Shaken, but not stirred

We've been having what looks to be an enjambre (swarm) of earthquakes. While I don't much like the shaking, I like the idea that the tremors are observing the mathematical complexities of swarm theory, which I learned about from my brother-in-law many years ago. I also imagine them running around chasing each other like the amazing river otters at the national zoo in Washington DC, which I used to walk through to get from where I lived (Columbia Heights) up to Vace, the Italian food store in Woodley Park so many years ago. But that's just me.

At any rate, between about 6:30 last night and 6:30 this morning, we had at least five tremors, with the last two at 4:30 AM and 6:30 AM definitely giving me a little shake-a shake-a. The books rattled and the mugs on the baker's rack clanged, and I briefly thought about what would go in my emergency get-out-of-the-building bag, and then I went back to sleep.

I don't know if it's a case of being kind of complacent or fatalistic, but no one around here really seems to make any plans for the big one. I think they just hope their buildings will withstand, like they did in the earthquake in '85. And for trivia buffs, you should know that the biggest earthquake ever recorded hit Valdivia (in the south of Chile) in 1960. And that those new buildings going up like weeds around the city, faster than you can even say Starbucks? Well let's just say they look a lot like dominoes from where I sit (with a tip of the hat to Gary Larson).

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