Day: February 14, 2008

Ficlet Featured Author


I was looking this old photograph yesterday of the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco. It’s a great photo. But it got me thinking about the one in 1989 that hit SF. So I did a little ficlet on it, which I knocked out in about 10 minutes, and a few minutes later, I noticed that it was showing up as the featured story on That was a pleasant surprise 🙂

During that earthquake, I was working at a video store in Marina, CA which is a couple hours south of SF on Monterey Bay. My sister was hanging out with our neighbours, and my parents were at Candlestick up in the city to see the World Series. Then the quake hit.

What I couldn’t fit into the ficlet is that when the first shock passed, my boss and I scrambled through the debris of the store checking on any customers. I had to step into the little section o’ porn to make sure no one had been knocked out by When Larry Ate Sally, and then aftershocks started to hit us.

We didn’t think it was safe to stay in the store so we ran outside – directly underneath the cement overhang that was over the sidewalk (the store was in a strip mall.) Not too clever eh? But it did not come crashing down on us. I do remember, the waterbed sensation then. Felt like the earth was rolling. I watched my car rock like it was trying to do the Wave. It was surreal as hell.

That’s all I remember until I got home. I don’t remember if I went back into the store, I don’t even remember how I got home. All I remember was trying to find my sister and when we were reunited we spent frantic hours trying to contact the G’s back here in GI but could not get through. I heard rumours about the damage in SF, especially that the Bay Bridge had collapsed which scared me bigtime. My parents had to travel on that to get home. We had no idea where they were, if they were safe or if they were on their way to the bottom of San Francisco Bay.

In the end, they arrived home, safe and sound. But it took them around 12 hours or so to do it. But we were all okay, everyone we loved was okay, our house was okay. We were very lucky.

The aftermath was pretty devastating around us. The whole of Monterey seemed to be spared and I found out later it was because much of it sits on a granite base which had absorbed much of the shock. But the further up the coast you went, towards Santa Cruz, or the further inland, and it was a different story. Once-proud houses collapsed into haphazard zigzags of wood and glass. Whole buildings imploded. Bridges fell. A lot of people died.

I really hope that’s the only natural disaster I have to go through. Then again, I live in Tornado Alley so the chances of that are slim.