Friday, January 8, 2010
I experienced my first hint of an earthquake this week. Thinking, at first, that several persons were trying to force their way into the apartment by hammering soundly on the walls, I was briefly irritated, until I questioned why and how they would also be rattling the ceiling. How long it continued, I can hardly say: perhaps five seconds, or it might have been fifteen- but in the off-kilter way that time has of playing tricks on us, it felt like several minutes.
It was rather more distressing for my poor mother: she was on the other end of the telephone on the other side of the world, decidedly one of the more horrifying positions to be in during such an event. I was forced to interrupt the routine morning discussion and advise Mater to hold the line so that I might glance outside and see what was what, and I said I had high suspicions that it was an earthquake.
To Mater, her ear frantically tuned to silence while I investigated, it must have seemed whole hours before my return. I announced that an earthquake had certainly struck, and that a significant crowd was congregating outside, but, I assured her, apart from a few ruffled feathers, nobody seemed to be troubled.
For Mater and I both, our sense of time was askew: seconds were minutes and minutes were hours and the entire happening was, conversely, both extraordinarily quick and supernaturally slow.
Later I examined the apartment, moving from room to room to ensure that nothing had smashed. The kitchen clock, in the shape of a fat black cat, had tumbled, landed on its cat face. I straightened it up, set it to rights again.
Later still I told my cousin that the clock had been one of the few household items to lose balance. Quick as a flash he replied, "ah, yes. Time flies."
Ah, yes. And on other occasions it puffs along like an old, battered locomotive.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 7:09 PM