Atlantic City earthquake

23Aug11

I first want to touch base about today’s earthquake.

This was the first I had ever experienced. Percentages would suggest that my first earthquake would be in Tokyo. But no, it was in Atlantic City, NJ.

I was sitting at my desk, conducting research for the Press’ new social media policy, when the first tremor hit. My initial reaction was that it was a case of the dizzies. I have been sick lately and have been ingesting heavy amounts of Dayquil, Advil and some Japanese powder Lisa gave me. I figured this was just a chemical reaction to this concoction of medications.

But then a larger tremor shook the entire building, and my rolling chair rolled back and forth a few inches. The girl sitting in front of me said, “what was that?” And I knew something physical had occurred, not just an after-affect of my drug-addled brain.

My gut told me it was an earthquake, but that didn’t fit my natural disaster gestalt. Other co-workers groused in disbelief, “Was that an earthquake?”

At this point I became a bit unnerved, because I had no idea how to react. I thought about hiding under my desk, like we had been trained in elementary school in case of a tornado siren. But nobody else was huddling on the floor with a notebook over their neck, and I wasn’t about to be the first.

Then the vice president burst onto the floor shouting, “Everybody outside!”

So I filed in line, not before running back to get my laptop, and shuffled out into the parking lot. After a half hour of gossipping and horseplay, they let us back in.

The demeanor among my co-workers was diverse. Many couldn’t get over it, and kept verbally reliving the experience.

“My plants were swaying back and forth!”

“I thought Larry was moving furniture!”

Others went back to work. I had to go to my social media committee meeting.

Fittingly enough, while in the meeting, I checked Twitter and AtlanticCity911 had already posted information about the earthquake.

It rated 5.9 on the Richter scale and struck about 60 miles west of Richmond, VA. It shook the entire northeast, and was even felt in Cleveland at the Indians/Mariners game.

By the time I got home, I had all but forgot about the experience, until I turned on the news. The anchor lady on CNN told about the “mayhem” caused by the tremors, and the picture on the green screen had an image of a street with bricks strewn about. I have seen more carnage after the Marengo Third of July festival.

Anyway, I thought the actual “destruction” and the reaction that followed, can be best depicted with this picture.

OTHER THOUGHTS

While riding home on the speed line today, I couldn’t help overhear a conversation by two young black men sitting in front of me. They were having one of those passionate conversations my freshmen buddies and I used to have at about 3 a.m.

I turned off my headphones and listened in for a spell. One topic that stood out was when they started talking about the recent flash mobs.

As the guy was saying, when white people flash mob, they dance. When black people flash mob, they rob stores and jump unsuspecting victims.

They guy made sure to point out that he doesn’t condone the attacks, but he understands where these people are coming from.

“They are poor and they are pissed!” he said. “They are tired of white people having everything. “They are tired of white people not understanding our condition!”

Now sure, the recession has affected me. I lost $1,000 in my 401k. But I have food to eat and still go out for beers once in a while and buy new clothes (at the outlet store).

But I still don’t know the fear of losing a home, not feeding my children, or the other burdens beholden the folks across the bridge in Camden.

As the train traversed the Ben Franklin bridge, I looked down over the Delaware River and saw a large yacht trolling upstream.

There was a rich man, out on his yacht on a Tuesday afternoon, oblivious to the despair building on the east bank.

I was pissed.

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