words about words

It’s been ten years since the Nisqually Earthquake. Aka that big ass quake that broke the Viaduct and busted a lot of old brick shit in Pioneer Square. Aka the scariest day of my life.

It was a normal day at work. I was a copywriter at Sierra On-Line and the creative team (8 zillion designer dudes plus me) was in a conference room on the 4th floor on a conf call with some coworkers in San Francisco. The building shook once, hard. I thought it was a sonic boom. Then shit started to shake, we ducked under the heavy table and our Creative Director –a real doucheball– hollers into the speakerphone “uh, guyths, we’re having an earthquake”. But of course the line had gone dead and the power had gone out.

We’d had mild quakes before, but just when this one should have been winding down, it went into overdrive and shook harder.

They say that Post Traumatic Stress is triggered when you believe your life is in danger. Doesn’t matter if it’s a fact; you just have to believe it. At that moment the thought that I would never see my children again pushed me over the edge. I didn’t scream or flail. I stayed relatively calm. But for the next month or so, I startled easily, cried for no reason, and had panic attacks.

It was the most frightened I have ever been, and I have experienced some scary shit in my life including my daughter going missing after school one day, being robbed at gunpoint, and a sexual assault on the subway.

So, on this ten year anniversary, I’d like to say “Fuck you, Nisqually.”

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