We had an earthquake today in Southern California. The quake was no big deal but the fact that cell phone service was inoperable, was traumatic to everyone. Your first instinct after being in a quake is to call everyone you know to find out if they are all right, and I guess it overloaded the system. Kind of like when everyone flushes at a commercial break during the Super Bowl.
I have lived through many quakes, and the fact is that no matter who you are, when the ground starts shaking and rolling under you, you are completely powerless. Not a single person can help you, and all you can do is wait for it to stop and pray that the building you are in doesn't come down on top of you. Kind of like a bug, fearing that the three hundred pound guy wearing combat boots isn't going to step on it.
I happened to be volunteering at the family center for the homeless, which happens to be in a very old building, built before they had earthquake building standards. It was horrifying to watch the enormous hanging chandeliers, made of wrought iron and brass, swing back and forth from the ceiling. Not as horrifying as trying to calm down all the scared children and have them stay outside for an hour, till it was safe to go back in. This all happened right before lunch, so it made for a long afternoon. Since we haven't had an earthquake in years, none of the children knew what was going on. To them it probably felt like you were on a skateboard, whether you wanted to be or not, but the fact that all the adults panicked, ruined the ride.
Fortunately, no one was hurt anywhere in Southern California, and tomorrow it will be business as usual, except for the fact that it will be fresh in our minds that we do live in Earthquake Country, and the next one, could be the "Big One."