Note: This post has very little, if anything, to do with what I write. If that bothers you, feel free to skip ahead.
October 17, 1989. I've taken time off work to watch the first game of the World Series, the first one for the Giants in 27 years. I've settled in on the couch in the little room I've rented in an apartment in San Francisco's Richmond district, TV and snacks at the ready.
Then, I feel the shaking. Instinct kicks in and I move to the doorway of my bedroom, figuring it will stop in a few seconds. It doesn't. It's the Loma Prieta earthquake, later measured as 6.9 on the Richter Scale.
A large, heavy wooden bookshelf takes up most of the wall space between the wall and the room's only window. When I say large, I mean at least six feet high. There is a board underneath the front of the shelf to keep it leaning back against the wall. It holds my comic collection, and lots of other things. And as I watch from the doorway, the quake brings it down, the top hitting the couch I had been sitting on.
As the shaking stops, I survey the damage and somehow wrestle the shelf back into place. I crawl over spilled boxes and damaged comics to get to my portable radio. I turn it on and hear about the Cypress Structure, the Bay Bridge, the fires in the Marina, the scope of the quake.
And as I start to clean up the mess, it hits me. If I hadn't moved when I did, if I had stayed on that couch, I'd have been under that shelf, injured or worse, with no one else in the apartment to find me and no phone.
There are many reasons why I'm glad to be telling the stories of Michiko and Beth and sharing them with you. And one of them is the fact that I had the sense to do something wise when the quake hit. It's the fact that I'm even here at all to tell the stories. And I'm grateful for that chance, more than words could possibly say.