It was a normal Tuesday afternoon during the summer. The sun was shining, the air was cool, and my lunch was in front of me in the cafeteria at my workplace. Everything, pretty much routine. Salad. Water. Chicken. Just looking to eat, relax, and chat with some co-workers for an hour before heading back to serving the public through park and recreation.
As I sat there, I noticed my surroundings beginning to shake. Am I having a migraine? A usual vertigo-type of feeling whenever I suffer from the painful headaches.
No. I'm fine. The movement continued.
I checked my chair. Yup, all four legs are evenly on the ground, just like every other day, just like they always are.
The movement continued.
My water swishing from side to side in it's bottle.
Then I looked at my coworker quickly whose face had my thoughts written all over it - the building was moving.
The building is moving!
Keep in mind, my office is on a pier on the West Side of Manhattan jutting out over the Hudson River. A pier that is well over 60 years old. A pier that currently has plans in the next 20 years to be torn down. A pier that is projected by architects to be sinking several inches every five or so years.
So when the building is moving, the building is moving!
Suddenly we stared at each other not sure of what to do next, then suddenly, the movement stopped.
The vertigo-like feeling. The swishing water. And the look on my co-worker's face was now a subtle search with his eyeballs for answers around the room.
Maybe a cruise ship (which docks nearby) hit the building? Yeah, that had to be it.
Then we all received an e-mail to our Blackberrys.
New York City, had just experienced a mild earthquake, which was a ripple effect from a 5.8 shake in Virginia. It was said to have last ten seconds.
Ten whole seconds. Just ten measly seconds. In what felt like several minutes as it was occurring.
And as I sit here and recount and draw from that experience, the sheer cortisol-rush that was those mere ten seconds, I wonder about the horror of those that endured massive 7.0 earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, and Japan just last year. And the several minutes and countless aftershocks that intensified the experience.
I can only imagine...
And while many still wonder about the reason for the sudden earthquake, it's cause, effect, and overall place in the grand scheme of things, I still find it curious how sensitive this city is to such occurrences. Most impressively, this city's turn to divinity in the time of need.
For a city quickly moving away from spirituality, I'm encouraged that there are many at the end of the day that still rely on our Good Lord.
For I do believe earthquakes also are done by him. And while it is impossible for me to explain his motives, I do know that a mere ten seconds got the attention of millions once again.
Ten Seconds that I will never forget.
Ten seconds that I will always take with me.
And a reminder, that on a normal day, just like this past Tuesday, ten seconds can change (or scare) the world.