I was nineteen years old, still living in my parents’ apartment, and I was home alone. My home was on the Eastern most side of Olympia, near Saint Peter’s Hospital. I was sitting at the table, by the kitchen, watching television in the morning. My feet were resting on the chair, and I was suddenly sure that the chair was broken, because it felt like it was rocking back and forth, like something in the base had snapped. I put my feet on the floor, and realized that it was actually the floor that was rocking, as there were large waves moving over the land, pretty much the same way they would describe on the news later. I’m sure there was a sound (I heard about it sounding like a loud rumbling) but I was too focused on the tactile/balance sensation of it to notice.
So, after thirteen years in public school, doing the same earthquake drill several times a year, the training had done what it was supposed to do. It had conditioned a response into me. I immediately jumped under the table, and as I sat there feeling the earth move I was acutely aware of the fact that I was right next to the sliding glass door, and that my conditioned plan was imperfect. People would laugh at me for months after hearing the story.
They laughed because the door did not end up breaking, and I rode out the quake under the table. No damage to the apartment, no damage to me, but I heard that one guy died of a heart-attack somewhere in Washington, so that was too bad.
My mom was very happy to hear that I was OK.
By Kevin Bridges
I was on Queen Anne Hill, on a ladder doing a remodel on a large home overlooking Elliott Bay. It was a cloudy day and that morning my friend and I were working on the roof.
The shaking began while I was on the ladder so I thought the ladder was loose but as I looked around everything was moving, even the concrete in the street and sidewalk. I got down from the ladder very excited but when it was over, a few moments later, I felt a sense of relief and disappointment.
By Joseph McCluskey