I was standing behind the counter, alphabetizing the video returns. The shop was fairly empty. Just me, my boss and a customer or two browsing.
Have you ever heard the sound of a heavy, metal chair being dragged across a cement floor? That grating, obnoxious sound that makes you want to slap your hands over your ears? That’s what an earthquake sounds like inside a video shop. Well, that accompanied by some screaming, shattering glass, televisions toppling, and hundreds of rental tapes crashing all around you.
There’s a moment on the beginning edge of panic when your brain just goes blank and instinct takes over. All I remember during the eternity that the earth shook was grabbing the counters and holding on tight with my eyes squeezed shut as the world fell apart.
I remember afterwards when someone asked what it felt like, I would liken the sensation to trying to stand on a water bed.
Almost 20 years on from that quake, I can still hear it.. still feel it. And it makes me shudder too.