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Shake baby shake

August 23, 2011

On the walk to work this morning, I was planning out tonight’s blog post. I was thinking I was going to write something about dogs, because I’m amazed at not only the sheer number of them I meet between Greenwich Village and lower Midtown, but also their size. Sure, there are a few lapdogs, like the Pekinese in a Snuggli worn by woman looking at a street vendor’s sunglasses. But most of them are big. Golden retrievers. Dobermans. Afghan hounds. Rottweilers. Pyrenees. And there was a manly looking man baby talking to his Corgi, “I know, but I have to go to work now. Yes I do! I have to go to work!”

And then I was also thinking about what a different thing it is to walk a route for a second time than it it for the first time. Yesterday I felt like I was trying to absorb everything to think about it later. Today I was comparing the experience to yesterday’s: the different arrangement of construction workers just before I turn on 5th Avenue, the same father and dog and son on a tricycle with a handle on the back that I saw in Madison Square Park yesterday, a new (to me) cart claiming to be the “King of Coffee” with a long line of men in suits and ties waiting for beverage, the way the morning sun glints off the top of the Empire State building.

But most of the day was colored by the earthquake that hit somewhere around 2 p.m. Despite the fact that at this point I’ve been in several earthquakes, I didn’t know what was happening at first. My wheeled desk chair started to shake and then roll. I looked up to see that all of the light fixtures, which are hung from the ceiling on chains, were swaying alarmingly. All of a sudden the normally quiet cubicle farm was abuzz. Everyone was standing up and running to windows and trying to figure out what was going on. There was mass confusion. My boss got a phone call and told us we were evacuating. We turned off our computers. Then her boss got a phone call telling us it was safer to stay put. We turned our computers back on again. Then another supervisor told us the building management company wanted us to evacuate. We turned off our computers again, grabbed our stuff and headed for the stairs, but there was such a crowd coming down from upstairs that we couldn’t even get into the stairwell. Then my boss’ boss told us the evacuation was optional. We all opted to go back to our desks, but everyone was a little freaked out. I got through my afternoon meeting and we were supposed to have our bi-monthly department staff meeting, but it was cancelled in favor of adjourning directly to a bar, on our the company tab.

The bar we went to was lined with wood planks and moose antlers and featured a duck pond on the ceiling (alas, it was too dark for photos). We colonized the patio and stayed for 3 hours. It was nice to get to know some of the people I see all the time but have never met. Afterwards, I walked home. Alas, the increased humidity today means I am now covered in blisters. I may be wearing less-than-professional footwear tomorrow. This is unlikely to be a problem. Back at home, I picked up my work email and learned that the evacuation had, in fact, been mandatory but for some reason, the loudspeakers weren’t working on our floor so we weren’t notified. Oops. It still seemed like overkill. But the building is old — built, ironically enough, in 1906, the year of the great San Francisco earthquake. So maybe there was cause for concern. But mostly I think people didn’t know what to do. This is not a place that gets a lot of earthquakes.

Tonight I made my first real meal in my tiny kitchen (sauteed shrimp an spinach with herbes de Provence, improvised with minimal pots and ingredients) and it was delicious. I feel like I’m playing house. Everything is in miniature. The good part is that with a tiny kitchen, the dishes are done fast. Which is lucky, because with the craziness of the afternoon, I find that I’m exhausted. I need to rest up, because tomorrow I’m meeting magpie after work.

In other news, remember the Free Willy Nelson? When I was visiting Cranky on Sunday, I noticed that it was still parked in the same spot, but it was raining too hard to take a picture Fortunately someone else collected the evidence. Click through — it’s totally worth a look.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. August 24, 2011 7:12 am

    Just one adventure after another!
    I’m told people here felt the earthquake,too. I grew up on the New Madrid fault, but I never feel them; I guess my world sways a lot already.

  2. August 24, 2011 7:17 am

    The more you baby talk to a corgi, the more they tilt their heads to the side and look like they understand you. It’s a problem.

    It sounds like you are really enjoying New York, earthquake and all. I like your descriptions of things.

  3. August 24, 2011 9:13 am

    it was so odd – i felt like i was about to faint – experienced it more internally than externally – until the few people in the office in the august doldrums all started buzzing and discussing. then we hit twitter and found out what had happened.

  4. freshhell permalink
    August 24, 2011 9:27 am

    I love the Free Willy Nelson van. I so wish that were parked closer to me so I could see it in person.

  5. eleanorio permalink
    August 24, 2011 5:11 pm

    My daughter felt the earthquake in Toronto. How did I find out about it? Facebook, of course!

  6. August 25, 2011 7:15 am

    There are a lot of huge dogs in Boston too and I really don’t understand it at all. We had dogs when we lived in Kansas City and had a yard but I couldn’t put a dog in a tiny place like ours with no yard. I feel bad enough doing it to our cats and can only think it would be a miserable existence for the dog.


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