As I subsided in the final stages of my REM cycle before the start of a fresh week, the pale bumpy walls that I consider home began to move. Am I still dreaming I asked? What is the meaning of all this? Why are the walls bumpy? And by the time I stopped asking myself rhetorical questions, I realized it was an…. earthquake! All the training I learned raced through my head, and I quickly jumped out of bed. Keeping low to the ground I ran to the living room, grabbed the rescue bag, and threw myself under the kitchen table. Once in the fetal position with the safety bag wrapped tightly around my legs, the trifling trembles subdued. It was over, but my heart was still beating faster than any turn up song I’ve ever heard. I’m alive and it’s only thanks to the protocol I learned at orientation.
Once I made sure I didn’t have any serious injuries, I ran back to my room to make sure my roommate was okay. I think he was more afraid of my anxious state rather than the actual earthquake. At that moment when he looked into my eyes with confusion, I realized I should have woken him up and carried him to safety. That would have been the heroic thing to do, but I didn’t have a cape around my neck, so it was everyman for himself! Plus, if I woke him up screaming earthquake, I probably would have given him a heart attack, and that would have been the only casualty of the quake.
Looking back now on the two-week anniversary of the event, I realize I may have overreacted a little bit. But hey, better safe than sorry I always say! One thing I didn’t take into account was the differences between east and west coast natural disaster. At any moment the earth could conjure up another shake, and at the same time that I fear the next one I also know that I will be the more than prepared.