Have you ever experienced that shaking of the floor when the washer load is unbalanced and on spin? That's not what happened to me last night.
What happened was an earthquake.
Now, living in New England, I feel pretty insulated from many things. I used to anyway, but the last few years have been pretty odd. We don't normally get a lot of hurricanes or tornadoes. It's just usually too cold. Hurricanes lose strength when they get over the cold waters of the North Atlantic and except for those freak storms, like in 1938 and 1957, they don't really reach that catastrophic phase. At least, they didn't until that Irene creature tried to drown the state of Vermont last year.
No, the worst thing we deal with is the Nor'easter, which is a bit like a hurricane except it's mostly snow and ice instead of rain. But even those really deadly blizzards strike in a decadal pattern - 1969, 1978, etc.
We definitely don't get earthquakes.
So why have I experienced two earthquakes in New England?
The first one was probably twenty years ago. The epicenter was in Quebec and when my chair began to shake and shiver, my first thought was that the freight train was rolling through. Of course, I did realize eventually that the trains had not run since I was a small child and besides, they didn't run at night. By the time I opened my mouth to say "earthquake", it was over. It was a little bit like missing it.
So, I should have been prepared last night, should have recognized the nature of that shaking in an instant. But no, my first thought was that the washing machine was spinning way too hard. Then I realized it wasn't possible for it to spin that hard, mainly because the washing machine wasn't running at the time. And again, by the time my brain had settled on earthquake, it was over.
I feel cheated, somehow. I feel like I would have experienced those 5 or 7 seconds more fully if I had known from the start that it was an earthquake. I mean, the washing machine spins every day.
The Boy was thrilled. The earthquake was the most exciting thing that has ever happened to him and he wanted more. He kept hoping that we'd get an aftershock, a rumble, a tremor, something or anything that would let him relive the experience. I almost shared his desire for more but it would have been setting a poor example for me to encourage him in hoping for another possibly destructive act of nature.
But I do want to make him happy. So tomorrow, just before he wakes up, I will put an unbalanced load in the washer and turn it on spin. Then I will wake him up, shouting "Earthquake"! Just think, he'll be the only one at his school who felt it...