We don’t get a lot of earthquakes in Jersey. A few years ago I felt a weird bumping on Sherman Avenue that turned out to be part of a small tremor in what some people call Central Jersey. But a genuine, room-shaking, “holy crap what the hell was that” tremor was a new one for me.
We were starting an edit in my 13th floor hotel room when I felt a rolling shake, sort of like a subway car passing under the theater. Thinking that my hotel — which frankly has seen better days — was about to collapse, I stood up (like that was gonna help) and looked around the room.
“What the hell,” I exclaimed to my photographer Brendan Smyth, whose quizzical look was also no help at all. The shaking lasted maybe 30 seconds.
When the room did not begin to pancake on top of the 12 floors beneath me I realized it was an earthquake. In fact, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake in Southern California, about 250 miles west, had just hit.
It was my first earthquake (Brendan’s too) and I’m sure neither of us followed whatever the proper protocols are for earthquake survival. I tried to shoot some video on my phone but did the ol’ pause instead of record so I have no record of the hangers rattling in the closet or our stunned faces when we realized what had just happened.
We were on deadline, and it was already mid-afternoon in Jersey. We were both OK. It wasn’t the end of the world; it was just Thursday morning on the Booker Beat.