I moved to the NW from California in 2000 and was working in North Seattle when the Nisqually earthquake rocked the region. We were remodeling a mansion just a few doors down from the Boeing family mansion, which we were obliged to refer to obliquely as, “North Seattle Residence,” or “NSR.”
I was on my knees, painting in the kitchen when the earth began to roll. Intuitively, I shot up and went to the door to make it outside. As soon as I opened the door, I remembered the scaffolding erected just outside, so I looked up to see if anything was falling, then took the chance and shot across the little courtyard into open territory. I know this goes against the admonitions of drop and cover etc., but I’m from California and we are licentious about many things, including stop signs.
Besides the assembled and awed crowd, I noticed the property’s pond acted like one of those contrived wave pools. Never saw the action of an earthquake on water before. The Nisqually quake was unlike any I’d experienced. Unlike the severe and relentless jagged jolts of So-Cal earthquakes, this one was deep and wave-like, almost lulling and luxurious. Truth be told, I really enjoyed it.
A comedic moments: In one of the jobsite’s honeybuckets was a Samoan workman. He yelled, threateningly, “Quit That! Quit That!” Thinking his friends were goofing on him.
Later, a paint rep came and told us that when the earthquake struck, he was stuck on the Alaska Viaduct. Traveling North, he was safely on the top of the double-decker highway, yet he watched in horror as the crane and operator swayed helplessly at the site of the (then future) CenturyLink field. As far as I know, the crane and operator made it alright.
When I was 4, during the Sylmar Earthquake (1971), my father told me he swept me up and that I immediately lectured him, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.” I’d learned this from the Margarine commercials.
Hey, as long as we live, we make light or see the light in situations.
By Masa Vestuto