A little after 9 this morning the ground beneath us shook. As we stood in our dark hotel room, the thick draperies pulled back revealing light on a cloudless day, the foundation of our three-story building reverberated waves to us on the third floor. It was incredible. The two glasses set prettily on the tray jingled together and the picture frame on the wall shivered slightly. But I won’t forget the creepy feeling under my feet.
We were used to traveling for business. We were outside of Salt Lake City, Utah when it happened. At first, we didn’t know what it was but my husband’s quick mind blurted out something like ‘wow, it must have been an earthquake!’ In my adventurous, strange little mind I was somewhere in a science fiction novel. But he was right…
We put a few things away quickly and made our way to the front desk to hear if anyone knew just what it was. The woman I approached was smiling and almost laughing and knew what I was about to ask. Before I barely had three words out of my mouth, she said something like, “Did you feel it? It was an earthquake!”
It was exciting to say the least. Where we are from we don’t get to feel this kind of thing everyday. I looked around for a moment to see what kind of damage might have been done to the items in the building. Not much, really. Amazing. Some things that were not placed in the safest of places were fallen over, but nothing life-threatening.
We turned on the news when we returned to our room, but couldn’t get much. Later we learned that it was centered somewhere outside of the Humboldt National Forest in eastern Nevada. All we could hear is that it was measured to be 6.0 on the Richter scale. I had to call some friends to tell them about it. “Are you OK?” one of my younger women friends asked. I giggled, “Yes, we’re fine. It was nothing, really. I just can’t wait to hear some real news reports about it and how bad it really was.”
It was the talk on the streets when we went out, and the talk of our business partners as we went on with the morning. It really hit home with me personally, though, because I realized how fragile life really was (even in such a small event as this) because even serious business became a time to laugh and talk about other things. Even people who were not your friend before suddenly became a very close friend as you both unite in a discussion of the 6.0 magnitude earthquake. It was almost like “what would I do for this person if he had been hurt?”
People really do change in the face of disaster. And even though this was not exactly a disaster – far from it – people can and do change. They become more concerned with each other and more aware of their surroundings. It’s almost like their little bubble has been burst and they can finally be real.
Forget business. Forget being mad at your best friend for something he did. A 6.0 or 6.3 magnitude earthquake is proof enough to tell us HEY WAKE UP THERE’S MORE IMPORTANT THINGS GOING ON THEN WHERE YOUR NEXT PAYCHECK IS COMING FROM.
So all in all, there were no fatalities reported with this earthquake, and for that we are grateful. It was shocking, and exciting in a way, especially to someone who has never experienced it in her entire life.