Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Earthquake Musings

On my lunch hour yesterday, I decided to walk the length of the Ben Franklin Bridge. It's near enough to my building, but still makes for a semi-respectable lunch work out session. Ironically enough, I hate driving on bridges. My palms sweat, I have to be away from the edge in a center lane, and I always feel that when I reach the apex, my car is going to fly off into midair. As a passenger I'm fine. As a walker, I'm okay...I can admire the view, but if I get to close to the edge, the sweaty palms might kick in, depending on the distance to the ground/water.

As I walked, I listened to some music on my iPhone, admired the view, and at one moment, actually had a strange thought...what would happen if an earthquake struck while I was walking along the bridge. Would I be tossed off, to die a horrible death in the Delaware River? (I frequently have very morbid thoughts when I walk alone and am sunk in my own musings.) I wondered if the experience would be similar to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse. (I originally saw this video in high school physics's a classic, though completely unrelated to earthquakes.)

I returned to work from my walk safely, albeit slightly sweaty. About 45 minutes later, while I was sitting at my desk, the building began to shake. The floor beneath me actually felt as if it was going to toss me off of my chair. My first thought...oh shit, the mechanical equipment that lives in the basement below me is exploding. I am going to die at my workstation. Great. Then I realized it was probably an earthquake. This struck me as slightly weird, given my earlier train of thought.

30 seconds of shaking later, I was still alive. I was however, slightly freaked out, and feeling like some sort of clairvoyant.


  1. And I didn't feel a damn thing.

  2. I remember watching the video of old Tacoma Narrow Bridge. Years later, I was making at least two trips across the new one a week! I recall two small earthquakes when we were in high school, but they were nothing like what you had the other day.