madness in the metropolis 

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Tremblor is a marvellous word

Earthquake! We had a 6.3 tremblor hit last night, about ten o'clock; they happen all the time, but this one was definitely one of the longest I've felt - it lasted at least a minute, maybe two, and the forest of wine glasses hanging upside down above the bar (oh don't look so surprised, of course I was in a bar) kept jangling for a good minute or two afterwards, like some kind of dipsomaniac windchime.

That the swaying was more pronounced this time was probably also something to do with being on the 7th floor; I was tempted to look out of the window and see if other buildings were moving perceptibly, but that would have meant standing up, and I was *way* too comfortable for that.

It's always interesting seeing how people react to earthquakes; everyone stops talking and looks up, silently, as if listening for the roar of an approaching tsunami or something. You look at light fittings, computer monitors, large pot plants - anything that might help you gauge the size of the wobble. You can see everyone thinking the same thing - can I get away with not standing up? Will I know when to make a dash for the exit? Is it... the Big One? My personal rule of thumb is to stay put if it's just horizontal movement - vertical movement, though, is a different matter - time to flee screaming and waving limbs crazily as I jump out of the nearest window. I'd probably still finish my drink first, though.

When it became clear that it was lasting a bit longer than usual, the bartender got up from his stool and sauntered across to open the door, which he held open for the next thirty seconds or so, until it had subsided. Not so we can flee when the building starts to collapse, really (we're on the seventh floor, people) but more so that if the doorframe is warped by the quake, the door is stuck open rather than stuck closed - although I can think of worse places to be stuck than in a bar with comfy sofas, its own radio station and chicken pies...

Posted by chris at December 3, 2001 11:58 AM | Permalink

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