12:18 p.m. on May 27, 2004

I had just gotten off work in downtown San Francisco and was heading down to the underground bus terminal. I went down the first flight of stairs to the first landing just before the escalators take you down into the tunnels. There was a homeless kid sitting on one of the cement benches. I had seen him a few times before and we were acquainted. Just as I was walking up to him, he jumped up from the bench and began to Yell: "Earthquake! Earthquake!" I thought he was just making a joke to scare all the yuppy business men, but then I felt the tremendous shaking of the ground beneath my feet.

"Cool", I thought, as I just stood there waiting for the rumbling to stop. I had been in a few smaller earthquakes before & they always quickly passed. I thought the street kid was overreacting when he pulled me to the wall, but then I saw the buildings begin to sway and I watched as people ran out of the way of shattering glass and falling masonry from the many highrise buildings.

I never realized how long 15 seconds really was, but as the seconds passed and the shaking continued, I became terrified that the earthquake would not stop until it had levelled the city. We were lucky, finally the earth stopped shaking, leaving us unscathed.

We ran back up to the street where there was so much dust, but it seemed like everything was relatively OK. The kid & I gave each other a quick hug, before he ran off to find his cat. Then I was alone, although the streets were filling up with people. The power was out and the electric busses were all at standstill, so I began the walk home. I was so thankful I was not trapped on the underground bus where I would have been had the earthqukae occured one minute later than it did. As I walked, the extent of the damage started to sink in. I was literally walking through rubble, broken glass & rivers from bursted water mains. Someone had a radio on the street & the news was terrifying. The freeway had collapsed in the 7.2 quake, trapping hundreds of people in rush hour traffic, part of the bay bridge had collapsed, houses in the Marina were destroyed and on fire, people were crushed by bricks from the fallen facades of buildings, and no one knew how many people were killed or injured. I felt scared & pretty alone, so I continued up Market street to get back to my apartment in the Upper Haight. I shared a flat with 3 other women, we were all around the age of 19. When I got home, I finally fell into shock. Our neighborhood was built over a creekbed & was unstable. A lot of the houses were severely damaged, including our own. The chimney was in the driveway, the walls were badly cracked and almost all of the windows were broken. The apartment door was wide open when I got there, but nobody was home. My room was a disaster, everything was on the floor, the walls badly damaged. I just sat in the middle of everything & cried. Not knowing what was going on & not speaking to anyone in the hour since it occurred had me pretty freaked out.

From out of nowhere, the phone rang. It was my friend Amina who was living in Santa Cruz, the epicenter of the quake. We talked & cried, she made me feel worlds better. I still did not know what had happened to the rest of my friends and family, most of whom lived in the Bay area. I was sure my parents were frantic, but the phone lines were all clogged & it was difficult to get through to find out if everyone was OK.

Eventually my roommates came home, they were out standing in line to get batteries & flashlights. We helped each other through the aftershocks and will never forget the experience. Thankfully, all of my loved ones were unhurt, but each person has their own frightening story of surviving the great quake of '89.

Space Holder. - February 12, 2012

BEAUTIFUL BOY - August 26, 2011

COUNTDOWN - July 13, 2011

SEXAY - June 16, 2011


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