Monday, October 26, 2009

A cub remembers a shake up

At 5:04pm , the Lone Star promptly observed the anniversary of the 89 Earthquake by playing the Earthquake scene from the old Jeanette MacDonald flick of the 1906 quake. The sound track roared to deafening decibels and the bartenders crashed a few glasses and swung the lamps in the bar. It was quite a racket! It didn’t exactly send me into a sense memory of that October in 89 but I got a little shiver. I had only been in San Francisco 3 days back during the Loma Prieta and my best friend and I were lying through our teeth to get a cool apartment in the Ingleside. We were patting ourselves on our backs, as we trotted down Haight street, complimenting each other on our perfectly performed mendacity of our so -called financial successes in front of our potential new land lady. As we walked passed a bar –appropriately called El Quake-O, a sodden young blond sitting facing outside of the bar squeaked, “ Uh Oh Quakey!” I think she was responding to the rattling of the liquor bottles inside. Then it happened. Mostly car alarms and dogs started the din. I stood there dumbfounded thinking that I didn’t realize that a railroad station was by the Haight.  My friend grabbed me and pulled me away from a large shop window that was breathing in and out of the store threatening to explode shards of glass in my back. I fell in the middle of the street on my stomach and watched the biggest earthquake I had ever encountered take Haight street, and snap it like a giant rug. The street rolled like waves from the wake of a large boat. Tiny windows of the tops of the Victorians burst out on to the street. It was brief but at the same time interminable. Later we both huddled by a bottle of Jack Daniels on the doorstep of the house we were staying at. The glow of the fires from the Marina filled the sky as well as 2 or 3 buzzing helicopters. I don’t mind telling you …I was calculating how the hell I was going to get back to Vermont at that moment. The papers exaggerated a death toll of 500. In reality it wasn’t even 80 but still….people did indeed die as a result of that quake. Later my new found San Francisco friends dubbed me a SF native because I didn’t turn tail and run. I stuck around and lemme tell you –it’s been quite a 20 year ride. Why do I feel the best is yet to come?

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