The new commute- a 20 minute trek across to Emeryville, along the Bay Bridge. I get caught in traffic halfway across and thoughts of Loma Prieta roll through my mind with little or no anxiety attached, believe it or not. I think we’re coming across the anniversary… have to look it up.
The city is fogged in both to and from work, and that’s kind of cool. To get to the bridge I careen through the financial district, wistfully seeing my Peets on Battery street. The other morning I was running late and got a bear claw at Starbucks on Battery, in the building where I spent my dot-com youth. Kind of funny driving like a cab driver through the city getting to a job across the bay. And no, I can’t BART to it, already investigated.
How odd, Loma Prieta is October 10th, not August 10th. Good post here about it: metroblog. I was in the library in Cupertino at the time, waiting for my shift to start. I was standing on a bridge to a new division, with the carts full of kids books below me. I was glad, in a selfish way, when the earthquake started because then I wouldn’t have to work! I ended up running, amongst the moving building, to the employee exit. I tried to grab a foot or so of wall that jutted out near the emergency exit. It kept on jumping away from me. In the parking lot, a VW bug was jumping around like a Mexican dancing bean. I guess the emergency brake was off. The soccer field opposite the parking lot (it was a small parking lot) was rippling like the ocean. Trees were swaying; telegraph polls were swaying. The sounds: an eerie silence of no cars running and muffled screams, and yet car alarms and building alarms going off cacaphonously. Amid the aftershocks, I figured out that a girl could drop me off at home. We had one injury in the library, a woman fell on her wrist and was kind of hysterical. The coworker and I, a thirty something woman with frizzy brown hair and a really youthful attitude, we were giggling hysterically at the city- the fact that a Santa Clara County bus was running, picking up people, navigating traffic, amongst all this tumult and craziness.
The next few days were awful. What would later develop into a full blown anxiety problem was blossoming in my 17 year old self. I couldn’t’ sleep, I couldn’t do anything, I just thought of earth-ending things like cataclysms. I wanted to run to the “big green” this field in our subdivision, to sleep in sleeping bags with the rest of the crazy neighbors, but instead I tried to just not sleep. The refrigerator had spilled its contents so we couldn’t eat anything perishable, and my dad had done a bad attempt at stir fry on the Weber (flames, fire ensued). We went out to dinner and didn’t witness any looting. Everyone in the restaurant talked to each other about the earthquake, that was odd. The only quasi-serious thing was that a girl on our cul de sac was trapped in one of the rooms above the garage, but my neighbor scaled the garage (we all did that, it wasn’t super heroic) and opened the window for her. I ended up leaving town with my Mom on the college tour in a day or so. I just couldn’t stand the “revolt of inanimate objects” as I called it. We drove around the northwest, and at truck stops we both freaked out whenever a semi rumbled by. That happened a lot.