We had an earthquake in D.C. today (well, Rockville, actually, but I sure felt it at my house). Before you get all, "This is just a hiccup to Californians" on me, let's stop and think for a minute. I've lived here the bulk of my 30+ years and I've never felt an earthquake. It was the highest "magnitude" (what ever happened to the Richter Scale?) quake since they started measuring them in 1979. And earthquakes just don't happen here. This is news.
I was shaken awake at 5:04 a.m. I don't know why or how I knew, but I was certain it was an earthquake. Then I remembered that earthquakes just don't happen here and thought I was probably crazy. I waited to hear if there were sirens (there weren't) or if I could hear any movement from any of my neighbors (I couldn't) so I did what any rational person would do . . . I checked Twitter. And thankfully, my tweeps let me know that I was not crazy, that they had been shaken too. Then I turned on the news and the real fun began.
Channel 7's resident nutbag, Traffic Lady Lisa Baden was reporting that she had, "at least 50 calls already this morning about a possible earthquake!" This caused mild mannered Alison Starling and Weather Dude Adam Caskey to practically plotz. Within minutes, they had confirmation from the U.S. Geological Survey that there had, in fact, been a magnitude (their word, not mine) 3.6 earthquake this morning, and identifying the "epicenter" (again, their word) of the quake as 10 miles north of Rockville (that's Germantown to you). You would have thought it was the Big One and we were all about to fall into the ocean. I awaited warnings of "aftershocks" and evacuations. They never came. My friend the Policy Lawyer even joked on her Facebook page that "the tsunami warning has been lifted."
At that point, they started taking calls from local "witnesses" to get their experiences. For some reason, all of the callers were from West Virginia [insert joke here]. I am still sort of confused as to why this was (and how did they get the number for Channel 7 anyway?). The first guy talked about how his whole trailer (of course) shook during the quake. Always astute Alison asked, "Did you think it was an earthquake?" And Trailer Man said he didn't. And the calls kept coming in. They all said basically the same thing . . . they were awakened by shaking and didn't know what it was. One lady even commented that her dog didn't know what it was either. I hope someone filled him in.
I realize that I said earlier that, yes, this is news, however it did not merit extending the newscast (as Channel 7 did, interrupting my beloved Good Morning America). I mean, sure, some of us felt it, others of us slept through it. It merited a mention on the morning news, and I'll even agree the "breaking news" banner across the screen. Heck, I even think it merited water cooler chit chat and happy hour banter, but the extensive coverage paid to a natural disaster of this magnitude (my word) was way out of proportion.
Once I had confirmed it was a quake and I wasn't in fact quazy, er, crazy, I was content watching the news for a bit and was ready to go back to sleep. It was kind of cool, and I was glad I had woken up for it and that it wasn't more serious than it was. But the way this morning's seismic event (also their words) was exaggerated, I was preparing for the inevitable telethon. So if you hear of anyone planning one, will you please let Larry King know that I'm ready to tell my story?