August 23, 2011, the day the Big One hit. Hmm, not so big, you West Coast folks say? Barely a ripple according to you Alaskans and Japanese? Thank goodness! What an interesting sensation, to be in an earthquake! (Not one I'd recommend, however.)
I was in the hallway of my office building, eight floors up, when the building began to shake. My first thought was that the contractors rehabbing the structure had a big-time screwup; earthquake was guess number two.
After things had settled down, I went back to my office. No sooner had I sat down to work, however, when a security guard came by and said the building was being evacuated. (Note to the relevant people: if you want people to leave the building, try using the alarm system.) I trudged down the stairs, which were eerily empty. Most everyone else was already milling about on the sidewalk. (How is it safer to stand under and near scaffolding than to be inside the building?)
I decided to venture to Metro - God knows when we would be allowed back in the building, and I didn't see the point of standing around for an hour and a half, only to go home at that point. Metro, bless their hearts, was open and I boarded a crowded train. We were limited to 15 mph as a safety precaution, but at least we moved. The 25-minute trip took a little over an hour, standing all the way, but I was grateful to have made it home without much fuss. Apparently the system reached meltdown a little later when the combination of slow speeds and the Federal workforce leaving en masse overwhelmed the capacity of the trains.
Thanks to Mr. Vivito Volare, I saw this picture, which nicely sums up the extensive devastation that the earthquake wrought.