I just survived my first earthquake.
Well, okay, technically it was at least the third earthquake I’ve experienced in Georgia. Once when I lived in Gldani my roommate came home and asked me about the earthquake and I had no idea what he was talking about. I had just been sitting watching TV or playing online poker or whatever, completely unaware of any sort of unusual motion off the earthward bow. Then again, that may have been while our heater was leaking carbon monoxide (true story!), so I’m not entirely certain I would have noticed anything anyway.
The second was last year. I was in bed for this one, and I guess the bed, like, insulated me from the shock? Or something? Anyway my wife noticed it but I didn’t, and I was like “whatever” and I mostly forgot all about it.
So while I may have survived several earthquakes, this is the first one I’ve *noticed*. I was sitting at my desk thinking about a problem for my Algorithms class and leaning my head against the wall and suddenly I felt everything move.
At first I thought I was having a dizzy spell – it was totally disorienting and weird – and then I realized that in actuality the entire room – nay, the entire 16-story building in which I reside – was actually swaying. I panicked. Or at least I tried to, but then the swaying stopped before I even had a chance to really get going.
So I got up and tried to walk – and succeeded! – and discovered that the room was solid once again, and I went and talked to my wife, who had gotten much further in her attempt at panic than I had, and who wanted to go outside. “Outside?” I thought, and envisioned walking down all those stairs (our lift doesn’t work in the winter, apparently), and I thought why go through all that effort if it isn’t absolutely necessary, and so I went back to my computer and googled the earthquake to see if there would be any sort of advisement on the subject of leaving one’s building. This shows you exactly how well I understand the world of earthquake events.
Anyway, about three minutes later the internet noticed there had been an earthquake, and I filled out an “I felt it” report on one of the earthquake data collection sites (which was fun!), and I noted a distinct lack of prognostication regarding some sort of larger follow-up earthquake, and so I went and convinced my wife that we did not, in fact, need to make the seven-story journey down to our ezo just to have the “OMG there was an earthquake” conversation with a self-selected group of our most excitable neighbors.
And in retrospect, I’ve never heard of an earthquake giving a warning quake; I’ve heard of aftershocks but not… like… beforeshocks, and so I guess that the concern that the quake we felt was just the beginning of a longer series of much larger quakes (birds and snakes and airplanes) was unfounded? Maybe? I don’t really know, and I’m not really interested in researching earthquakes but if any of you helpful readers happen to know and want to tell me I will be sure to pluck your comment forth from my moderation queue will all due haste.
So yeah. The earthquake was scary. The whole room moved, and for a moment I thought it would just keep moving, and the whole building would topple over. Even now, like five hours later, I still look at our floor differently, like it isn’t quite as solid as I had taken for granted it was before. On the other hand, ყოჩაღ, maladetz, and big props to my building for not falling over or breaking or whatever. We dis the Soviets but they made a bunch of hideous ugly buildings that don’t fall over despite time, neglect, and small earthquakes (let alone from sheer ugliness). I wouldn’t say that I freaked out, but I definitely had a moment of wondering if I was about to die followed by a few minutes of wondering if the earth was going to… I don’t know, requake or something. It was exciting!
In the end the quake was reported as a 5.5 to a 5.8, depending on the source, and was centered in the Black Sea off the Georgian coast. It was felt as far away as Tbilisi. No casualties or destruction have been reported.
Here is a tribute to those Soviet builders who made my ugly, sturdy 16-story apartment building:
I like to think this is actually how my building was constructed.