The Medieval Bestseller
I read it somewhere on the Internet...
Tuesday, July 29, 2008

At the end of last week I got some very good news. The people who used my nativity painting last year for their Christmas appeal contacted me. It turns out that my image on their cards was very popular and served them very well last year, so they wanted to know if I might be willing to contract with them to paint a new image for their Christmas for the next three (3!) years! I was really quite blown away with the news. I also was a bit dumbfounded because they wanted to know if they could have exclusive rights and how much I would charge for that and blah, blah, blah.

We ended up deciding to talk at the beginning of this week, giving me the weekend to think about what I wanted to do, whether I wanted to give them exclusive rights, what a fair price would be and stuff. Yesterday I just didn't have the time to call, so I called today at around 11:30 a.m. to finalize an agreement about the rights. I was talking with these people on a conference call when, all of a sudden, I felt some distinct shaking. Not shaking in the sense of when people walk heavily on the floor (which sometimes I feel) but shaking as in an earthquake shaking. As an aside, when I took this job, I was a bit concerned about working on the 44th floor. Earthquakes in general I really do not mind. The thought of earthquakes while being at the top of a skyscraper, however, is a little different to me. I quickly realized (with some amount of horror) that the shaking that I was feeling was a substantial earthquake, so while the other people on the line were talking, I said quite urgently, "Um, we're having an earthquake. I'm on the 44th floor. I have to get out of this building." And then I hung up.

Coincidentally, I was making this phone call right near the stairwell. I opened the door to the stairwell but then realized I should probably get my purse, which was at my desk, nearby. After grabbing my purse, I then commenced at rushing down 44 flights of stairs. Which, if you're curious, takes 11 minutes, if indeed the quake was clocked at 11:42 a.m. On my way down the stairs I felt at least one (probably two) aftershocks. There were also announcement on the speakers in the stairwell from building security that said something like, "We have just had an earthquake. The building is currently under normal operations. The elevators are working. Take caution for aftershocks." I don't know about you, but I don't think I'd want to chance being in the elevators if they decided to make the building not in normal operations.

Once I got outside the building, my legs were shaking and I was thinking that even if the building collapsed, I was probably no safer being outside (surrounded by many tall buildings) than I would have been if I had stayed up there. Nonetheless, I was glad to be outside. Coincidentally, Gavin had emailed about a half hour earlier asking if I wanted to get lunch with him, to which I agreed. My exit from the building at 11:53 a.m. was quite good timing, as I had to wait just a few minutes for him to arrive at about noon.

When I saw him, I asked him if he felt the earthquake when he was walking over, to which he responded, "What earthquake?" with confusion. I let him know that we just had a fairly big earthquake and he then said something like, "I thought it was odd that there were so many people out and about." Then I used his phone to call back the people about the artwork and apologize for just hanging up on them (my phone is nearly out of battery) and the people said that they were watching the news and that the news was saying that the quake was 5.8 and had up to 3.8-magnitude aftershocks. I thought the quake felt big, but I am surprised that it was that big.

Needless to say, I felt a bit shaken up after this earthquake, but I ended up feeling much better after lunch and was able to complete my day in the office with ease. Good timing, Mother Earth.

- Jenny, 7/29/2008 05:33:00 PM

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