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I am a New York-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

Sleeping Through My First Earthquake

Embassy Suites Monterey California BedroomI hate waking up in the middle of the night to pee. Not only do I have to get out and walk across the room, dancing on the cold bathroom tile while I take care of my business, but then I have to climb back into what is almost instantly a cold bed. And only moments before, perfectly and blissfully happy, I was all cocooned up and snuggling deep in my king sized bed at my hotel in Monterey, California. Or so I thought…

Blizzards and tornadoes do very little to frighten me. I’ve been through bunches of each. And hurricanes, likely because they’re not possible in my home states of Colorado and Minnesota, do very little to unnerve me. But for some reason, earthquakes scare the bejesus out of me. There’s something about the earth shifting on its own accord that seems incredibly unnatural. Sure, it’s one of the most natural occurrences. I get it. But, despite never experiencing one, that doesn’t keep the thought from freaking me out to no end.

Hold on. Let’s rewind a second. I haven’t ever experienced an earthquake…until recently. This last weekend, actually. I woke up to a different call of nature. I had to pee. But, as I was later informed, that need to wee wasn’t exactly what woke me. That real call of nature in the middle of the night turned out to be an earthquake. I woke up from the shaking, a small 3.4 rumbler near Monterey, California.

I remained completely unaware of this fact until speaking with a writing colleague later that night over beers. We were lamenting how we were about to lose an hour of sleep with Daylight Saving Time, me more so since I hadn’t slept well the night before.

“Did you wake up from the earthquake?” he asked.

“The what?”

“The earthquake. Sometime before 5 a.m. there was a small quake that shook the building.”


“Yeah. Others told me about how they woke up, too.”

“Get out of here.”

“No, I’m serious,” he tells me.

Long pause.

“Are you seriously not messing with me?”

“No, not at all. There was an earthquake last night. I Googled it on my phone and it was the first thing that came up.”

monterey earthquake mapSo. Yeah. My first earthquake, my first time experiencing this phobia head on, and I do so by running to the bathroom. Maybe that was a natural instinct of a different kind kicking in, since that’s one of the safest places – beyond a basement, that is – to go in case of a tornado.

I still didn’t believe him until much later that night, when I got back to my room and looked it up for myself. And yeah, sure enough, there was a 3.4 quake outside Monterey. But guess what happened the next night; another earthquake. This one 6.9 and off the coast of Eureka, Oregon. That, according to the news I watched in the morning, could be felt all the way down in San Francisco, which is where I was transferring planes on my trip back to Denver.

Oh goodie.

Oh wait. Never mind. Forget the sarcasm. That’s a good thing, I guess, since I’ll likely be in the air. And, truth be told, how can an earthquake really get me while I’m in the flight? Hopefully on departure. Hopefully on my way back to Denver. Hopefully somewhere already over at least Utah. Yeah. That’d be nice. Utah. Or even Colorado. Yeah. Colorado. Let’s just say I’m already back home and away from any high likelihood of earthquakes.

But weren’t the Rocky Mountains made by massive earthquakes with violent tectonic upheaval?


Thanks. I needed that reminder.

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