Time to Settle Accounts

August 23, 2011: #earthquake.

At around 1:30 p.m., my friend Mo posted on Facebook:

“For a minute it felt like our house was shaking here in Concord NC… Did anyone else feel that or is it just an old house?”

The responses came quickly:

Jill W: “we felt it here in Franklin, NC!”

Jeff H: “apparently an earthquake in Virginia/DC area”

Chip T: “and in Raleigh!”

John R: “and in nyc”

Randee R: “And in Norwich, VERMONT”

Jacqueline M: “Just felt it in Baldwin PA @1:51 pm”

Randee R: “WTF is going on…”

Brice G: “5.8 in DC. CRAZY!”

Another friend wrote separately: “Magnitude 5.8 quake hits Virginia, DC and NY… my friend in Ohio felt it too! As I’m sitting here watching 2012!! :)”

And another: “Ok now I know how an earthquake feels”

And another: “Earthquakes in NYC, D.C., Virginia??? WTF.. is this the end??”

And another: “Just be thankful that this did not start in the Atlantic Ocean.”

I googled “Earthquake” for more information, and to my surprise, one of the first stories was not about the East Coast at all, but about a 5.3 quake in Colorado. It was the state’s largest since 1967, and was felt in Kansas and New Mexico.

The tweets were rolling in, with #earthquake becoming the hashtag du jour. The tone on Twitter differed from Facebook.

“Thanks all of my 697 friends on facebook for posting about the earthquake. I canceled my cable because you’re all covering it so well.”

“These aftershocks better be amazing. But not so amazing that they kill me. #earthquakeof2011”

“NYC is fucked. RT Shocking photo on the ground in Manhattan: twurl.nl/li54jq

“This earthquake went from devastating to silly in a magnitude of 5.9 seconds.”

“Chicago not impacted by the earthquake other than we have to hear East Coast people complain even more.”


“Earthquake or not, McDonalds gone always be open. #becauseofanearthquake”

“5.8 magnitude #earthquake felt near Washington, DC. Tea Party Republicans are insisting it be lowered to a 4.9.”

An email came in from my camp friend Josh in New York, sent to our google group, with the subject, “swiryn, earthquake? report?” referring to our friend in D.C. “I felt it here in NYC, so did Robby,” wrote Josh about he and our friend, both of whom are in New York. Robby responded with a link to his brother’s Wall Street Journal article covering the quake, which at the time had 173 comments.

The comments read:

“Any one still doubt we are all doomed in 2012”

“Our whole building shook in brick NJ”

“We felt tremors in my office in SouthEast Ohio”

“I’m in Columbia, SC and we felt tremors here!”

“I was sitting in Cooper Park, Cooperstown, NY and the park bench shook for about 15 seconds or so.”

“I live in Lexington North Carolina and the same thing happened at my home. I was working and my desk started shaking and I could feel shakes under my chair.”

“My cottage windows started rattling and then the whole house was swaying. Fun but scary!”

“We felt it here in boston”

“Felt it on Toronto Ontario”

“Felt it here in Buffalo”

“We were shaking in central New Jersey.”

I texted three friends on the East Coast: “Earthquake report??”

Within seconds, my friend Kristin called me from her apartment in Wilmington, NC. “I was sitting in my living room, reading and enjoying a strawberry milkshake, and the couch started shaking.”

“Apparently it’s been felt as far west as the Ohio/Indiana border,” I said.

“So it wasn’t just me.”

“Wasn’t just you.”

“Oh lord,” she said. “I can’t be worrying about falling into a sink hole. School starts tomorrow.”

“You should have never left Chicago.”

“Maybe I’ll go to Texas…”

“Shit – ”

“Or maybe Russia.”

“Just saw someone in Chicago post: ‘Currently going through an earthquake… I can’t make this up. And yes, I’m in Chicago. OK, I’m in the suburbs, but still.’”

“You didn’t feel it?”

“Nope.” I paused. “The middle of Russia?”


“Might be safe.”

“I’ll start packing.”

NEXT: I once had dreams. (9.7.11)

PREVIOUS: Testing boundaries. (8.20.11)

Photo credit.

MORE ON POSSIBLE end-of-the-world stuff, 2012, apocalypse, etc.

A long time coming. (4.12.11)

The iceman cometh. (4.4.11)

A window in their office. (3.11.11)


5 Replies to “#earthquake.”

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