Where in world...?

An old friend phoned the other day. He never phones. But this time he just had to know: "What are you doing living in Florence?"
He thought I was in Florence, Italy. I told him it was Florence, Massachusetts.
Here are some answers -- my occasional wanderings through Florence, MA and the surrounding Pioneer Valley.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Napping Through the Apocalypse (almost)

Depending on where you turn for news, the East Coast had a 5.8 or 5.9 earthquake this afternoon just past 2pm EST. It was rather inconvenient, as I was in the middle of a nap. I really don't take naps because whenever I have to take them, I'm really worn out from things so that my regular nighttime sleep isn't doing the job, and then waking up from a nap REALLY messes me up because I'm always disoriented. Well, I might never take a nap again after today, since I woke up to the sound of Joey barking, and my apartment shaking. I live in a converted carriage house, so my whole little late nineteenth-century building rocked like a boat.

Joey: Bark! Bark! (What is going on? Wake up!)
Florentina: [eyes closed, ignoring the rocking of the loveseat sofa she's napping on, and the construction vehicles at the nearby building]
Joey: Bark!!! Barkbarkbark!! (Mom! We have to get out of here!! How can you sleep through this?)
Florentina: [noticing the rocking is quite pleasant] Joey, it's just the workers outside. [Tries to go back to sleep.]
Joey: Bark! Bark! [You don't get it, do you, Mom?]
Florentina: [finally awake, and sitting up in her boat, er, loveseat sofa] Wow, those construction vehicles really make the building shake. Workers, Joey, nothing to worry about.

Boy was I wrong. When it all stopped, I could hear my neighbors outside, and at the same time, Joey's dad called to let me know they had just had an earthquake in New York City. He was astounded to hear that we could feel it all the way in Florence. I think he was even more astonished that I sounded sleepy.

Unfortunately, I have been known to sleep through other earthquakes. Once when I was younger, an minor earthquake hit Connecticut, and I didn't feel a thing. But I learned to fear the moving earth later on. When I moved to San Francisco, I was woken up one night out of a sound sleep by a tremor. Those were frequent enough and scary enough because of the collective memory out in earthquake country. But who expected one to hit Florence, and that it would make such a pleasant rocking motion of my loveseat sofa?

555 California Street, the former BofA Building. (Wikipedia)
I know it's terrible of me to say that, knowing as I do how much scarier it is when I've felt the shaking in tall buildings. A long time ago, when I worked in the Bank of America Building in downtown San Francisco, the building's earthquake rollers would cause swaying in the floors above. Working on the twenty-fifth floor meant that we would feel a little motion sick sometimes on windy days. Pencils were said to roll on desks, and people nervously watched the weather for dry, sunny days that they called "earthquake weather."

Best wishes to everyone out there who felt this earthquake, and hope everyone is safe this afternoon.

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