9.1.10

Eureka Earthquake: Holy Fucking Shit!!!!

I write this with a laptop battery not fully charged, by candlelight, with the hiss of my house phone threatening to drive me insane.

The earthquake was bad. 6.5. Bad enough. Eureka, California all over the fucking news.

I was putting away some pants, thinking of going to get a hoagie to scarf down before the Eagles game. I thought I heard a truck. Then I thought I felt it. (As I wrote that there was a slight aftershock.) The house shook and I was thrown/lost my balance and felt my spine hit my metal bed post. I knew then it was an earthquake.

I went to the doorway in my bedroom, thankful my daughter wasn't here to experience it, but worried as to what she may be going through. I braced myself. I watched as it looked like my house was attacked by a poltergeist. Things were flying off the shelves and walls. I could hear glass breaking.

And then the front of my house moved.

Not shook. Moved. To the right. A lot.

I screamed something. Maybe, “Oh my God!” I realized the house may be coming down, and I bolted for the door.

It really takes longer to read this then to experience it.

Something flew from my one cabinet and hit my head hard. I think it was a new can of shaving cream. I found it in the debris.

By the time I got to the door, it had stopped. I kept my television from toppling, and then the aftershocks came.

I don't know exactly what happened next. I grabbed my phone to call my daughter. It was hissing (still is), but I couldn't connect. I used my cell and left a message at her house. But then the cell died. I heard sirens in the distance. People on my block were fleeing their homes.

I have never experienced anything like this before, and I was suddenly very worried for my daughter.

I tried calling my mom. Nothing. I tried Nikki. Nothing. She's the most tech savvy woman I know, so I knew she would be on this shit, but I needed to get a hold of her. I tried to send a text. Nothing. No service. Unable to get through. My street was lining up with cars. A fire truck was pushing its way through. My text must have gotten through. I got a reply. If I got a reply, my phone was working. I called my daughter. Their phone wasn't working. I called Nikki. She was, like I expected, on her shit with this. She was giving me numbers, miles, epicenters, reports. I was taking it all in, but not knowing what was registering.

My back is in agony now. Agony. It was only slightly hurting then. Adrenaline. Love it.

I left a note on my door in case anyone came looking for me. I then let my neighbor know that if he saw my daughter to tell her I was on my way to her house.

Getting out of town was a fucking nightmare. I had the radio on to listen to reports. One station was on the air. I had Nikki on my cell, most likely worried about me driving with what could be a head injury. No tsunami warning, but as we crawled through the safety corridor on 101 between Arcata and Eureka, a few drivers saw what I did: the water seemed to be draining from the bay.

In hindsight, I don't know if this was low tide, but it was definitely not the amount of water I expected to see. The driver's that noticed it started to speed up, but not enough other drivers took their cue. I was almost hit twice.

I made it to my daughter's she was fine. That terror was over, and I was in pain. My ex's husband offered me a lantern because my power was out. A very kind gesture that I appreciated but turned down. I figured I had candles and a flashlight. I'd be okay. I hugged and kissed my girl good-bye. And then I tried to make it back.

There was still a mass exodus, and emergency vehicles shot through traffic. I noticed some lights on in the distance, which meant part of Eureka had power. I also noticed lots of flashing lights of cop cars. A lady on the radio reported that the Bayshore Mall had started to fill with smoke when she left.

I could not believe this. The adrenaline was wearing off. I was in massive pain. I had a lot to clean up. I had no power. Flashlight batteries were dead. Lots of voice mails on cell, which was dying. Lots of text messages. One of my bookshelves almost came apart. I put it back together, but not without most of the books falling onto me. I grabbed a plate to eat a brownie my daughter made and ended up having all my cups fall out my cupboard.

I still hear sirens.

It's 6:40 as I write this. My cell is on its last bar. I have no way of charging it. People are shouting outside. I just picture looters. I know that won't happen ... thankfully. I'm in no position to fight. I'm exhausted, honestly. Starving. I've talked to my mom. She got the message I had Nikki leave.

I feel like throwing up.

Forgive this if it isn't perfect writing. I don't really care at the moment. My head hurts, my back hurts, and I spent a lot time worrying about my little girl.

This is not how I envisioned Saturday going.

3 comments:

Deleted said...

how did i know this year was going to start out like this? hopefully, the worst is over...for all of us.

-Doug Brunell "America's Favorite Son" said...

Yeah, no fucking kidding.

carolyn said...

That is a great, real life interpretation. Scary, and real. I'm a student at HSU, and I was actually in LA with the Marching Lumberjacks when we heard the news about the earthquake. At first, I thought it wasn't going to be such a big deal, I had experience a 6.1 in the bay area 2 years ago, and it didn't cause much commotion, and there wasn't as much emotion, either. I'm afraid to what to expect when I get back to Arcata...