Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Shake'n'Shout

Well, apparently we had this earthquake.


I say 'apparently' because I didn't even know it until I was informed by my other relatives, and read the reactions of people on Twitter and Facebook.


I was in the shower; I didn't feel a thing. I heard what sounded, to me, a very deep thundercloud boom outside. Or perhaps a heavy dump truck carrying gravel for a construction site had passed by. Big trucks often pass by my yard; I do back onto Greenbank Road, after all. And because Barrhaven is in the midst of a construction boom and because we're situated right near the commercial centre, big trucks carrying backhoes, gravel, any other construction material, and huge tractor trailers delivering goods to stores and pre-packaged burgers/fries to McDonald's often pass by. Air horns and the average low roar from the engines of these trucks have been common since we moved here. And the thud and sound of them rolling by on the road, big wheels bouncing off a pothole or rut.


Not to mention that Barrhaven is also situated under a flight path, and airplanes pass over with resounding sonic booms and whining turbines.


So it came as a normal thundering roar to me when I heard it as I passed a bar of soap under my arm. I did not feel any vibration, unless you count sensing the small shuddering of the house, which is also quite normal.


I'd later get a phone call from my maternal grandmother asking if I was alright. And I'd be informed of the fact that it was an earthquake that caused the low roar.


People downtown, it turned out, were evacuated from the buildings. My mother called telling me she was waiting for her floor to be given the go ahead to empty itself. My paternal grandfather called to get my report on the situation, and in turn found out his wine glasses had been knocked off the wall, picture frames had gone cricked, and my grandmother had witnessed the windows bulging. And my other cousins had been scared by the whole effect.


I could not have been more or less unaffected myself. Nothing was out of order when I toured the house, nothing had fallen and no item was broken. The cricked picture on the wall remained cricked like it was before. I don't think an earthquake has ever righted a photo on the wall before.


I could give all the details about the earthquake itself, but I don't feel like re-opening all the web pages I had open when researching the whole thing. I'll just say that it was a magnitude of 5.5, I believe, and originated in Quebec about sixty kilometres north of Ottawa, 19km beneath the surface.


What annoys me is my time and place.


All my life, I've been either asleep, or in a situation, like when I was in the shower, where I would not notice any effect. Had I been in the basement I probably would have heard the sound a lot more deeper and louder, and probably would have felt at least a bit of a shake. When our campsite was harassed by a bear when we went camping two years ago, on each situation, I was just waking up in my tent and listening to my father shouting and throwing rocks. My younger half-brother was the one who woke up and spotted the bear and alerted my father, whereas I would be fast asleep every other time. Same for any previous earthquake, too. I slept through all of them.


But anyway. Nothing happened here. Downtown is pretty congested. 


If anything else happens, where I'm not unconscious or in the shower or otherwise disabled and unaware, I'll make sure to write about it.


Justin C.

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