Friday, July 16, 2010

Tell Us If You Felt It

That would be affirmative, WaPo.  Oh, boy, you betcha.  And how.

The little earthquake of 2010 that shook the Washington, DC area shortly after 5 o'clock this very a.m. was assuredly felt in Roxie's World.  Both moms were startled into wakefulness by an eerie rumbling noise that shook the house for several seconds.  WTF, Moose muttered, is that an earthquake?  Goose of course was skeptical, because that is her nature, but she was inclined to agree with her sleepy yet perceptive partner when she realized she didn't hear the gears of an exceptionally large truck grinding its way through the neighborhood in the predawn hours, which was the only other possible explanation she could imagine for such a rattling and rolling of the usually steady world.

Here is the U.S. Geological Survey's poetically named "ShakeMap," which shows that the epicenter of the 3.6 magnitude quake was about 20 miles north and west of our ridiculously large backyard, in Montgomery County, MD:

As soon as the tremors subsided, Moose's first thought was, Hey, I should put something up on Facebook.  She fell back asleep before that thought could be actualized, but when she awoke the first thing she did was to check Facebook to see if friends and neighbors had also felt a certain rumbling in the night.  Sure enough, they had.  Her news feed was full of comments, quips, and links to reports on the quake.  It was a delightful way to get a personalized ShakeMap -- and to get insight into the sleep patterns of her friends by noting who slept through the quake and who was awakened by it.  She quickly weighed in with a couple of quake-related status updates, the cleverest of which was, Is that an earthquake, or are you just happy to see me?

Note the pattern of information-seeking here, my friends.  Moose didn't turn on the television or click on the WaPo website.  She went to a social networking site, to get a sense of how the quake was experienced by friends and neighbors.  Had the quake been more serious, that obviously would not have been the case, but this feels like a modest yet significant example of how new media tools have changed our patterns of information consumption and our ways of experiencing such events.  They are personal and public, simultaneously and instantaneously.  That is a big -- one might even say seismic -- shift in our way of being.

So tell us, darlings, did you feel the little earthquake?  Let us know!


  1. I most assuredly DID feel the earthquake, as you have reported, Moose. DAMN. Nothing quite like it, as our friends in California already know. And one of our dear friends in London reports that the British Isle quakes as well. What a summer--we've been shaked, shook, rattled, and rolled. What's next, Goose wonders?

  2. Anonymous12:39 PM EDT

    Didn't feel it.

    I miss all the good stuff. But I did experience one in Oregon 9 years ago. Does that count?


  3. I'm sure Benji and Ruth felt it, but I'm down at my parents' in lovely Lexington Park, Maryland, where we felt zilch. I'm surprised you didn't allude to a certain Carole King song in your post!

  4. As an added perk to tonight's after dinner entertainment, we'll drive you over to the epicenter which is about 3.5 miles from our backyard! I'm sure it's a tourist trap by now with vendors hawking wares and earthquake insurance salesmen signing people up for policies! Were you hoping for a circus tonight??

  5. I seem to have slept through it, and I assume that is because I spent so many formative years in California, through many quakes, and only the bad ones wake me up!

  6. @Geoffrey: That very song was of course queued up and ready to be incorporated into this post, but my typist was composing in haste this morning, getting ready to head downtown for a haircut and a matinee of The Kids Are All Right. Perhaps we will update later. Every natural non-disaster deserves the appropriate musical accompaniment, after all.

  7. Don't forget you're gonna invite me to guest lecture in your fucking blogging course!


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