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As I learned of the earthquakes in the east, I am reminded of a time I was in Southern California at the Horton Plaza, a mall in downtown San Diego, when the floor began to make waves. The rolling and rocking at first was not apparent. The place was having a sale. Floor to ceiling windows looked out to a courtyard, with concrete, potted foliage, and shoppers below. To keep my balance, I grasped at a rack of cocktail dresses and caught myself even as I steadied the rack. And then my instinct kicked in and I started moving for an exit; in this case, for the huge plate glass windows. My friend grabbed me by the arm, laughing a nervous giggle of both admonishment and hysteria. “No! Don’t go that way,” she said.
I just wanted out, anywhere but inside of that swaying building. My logic was over-trampled by the innate drive to escape, to run out to the solid ground and feel planted as those potted shrubs.
Today as I watched the nervous citizens empty out of the highrises, I understood. But there are few real ‘highrise’ buildings in So. Cal. Because they block the light, the cities are not too keen on developer’s plans to cut out that tourist attracting sunshine. And the quake that rattled me was only a 3.8; nothing when compared to the 5.8 that struck today.
So the point of all this rambling, is just this: I’m with you guys, no matter how much razzing you’re getting on the social sites from the west coasters who think of quakes as just another day surfing the turf. I’m with you.
~From Paris with love.

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