Fair warning, this wine blog will have no specific wine talk today.
When you are born and raised in upstate NY like me, you don't experience too many natural disasters first hand. Sure we have our fair share of heavy snows, but the state is well equipped to deal with it.
I had moved to Virginia for work in 2008. For the most part, Northern Virginia is obnoxiously hot and humid in the summer time and fairly easy during the winter. The few times it would snow with any accumulation, the region would shut right down and take an slide (pun intended) into a snowy panic. It would last for 24 - 48 hours, then most of the snow would melt away as you are left to complaints about normal daily traffic. That was life in VA for almost four years, until August 23, 2011 around 2:00pm.
That was a Tuesday. A typical boring day for me in the wine shop. I was mostly receiving and placing orders for the week. It was typically hot August day. When I woke up that morning I had no clue I would experience the most terrifying moments in my life. Many of you will remember that on that day, a 5.6 Magnitude earthquake would strike the region. The epicenter was about 30 miles from the wine shop. I was sitting at my desk out in the shop talking to a vendor. There wasn't too many customers at the time and all in all, it was quiet. I had a desk chair on wheels. At 1:51pm, we heard a low tone seemingly click on. I thought it was one of the large air conditioning units switching on across the store. Then all of the sudden my chair, with me in it, starter creeping away from its original spot. Did I mention I was still sitting in it?! Then the sound exponentially grew louder and louder and louder. My blood pressure was climbing higher and higher and higher. It sounded as if a large truck and trailer were headed straight through the wall. The lights were shaking, shelves were moving, and what customers and staff were in the building were running straight towards me. My desk was near the entrance and exit. The sound was unbearable. The shop was just around 10,000 square feet and with over 2,400 selections of wine. Multiple that by time 12 bottles of each on the shelf and not including floor displays and back stock, that is around 50,000 bottles of wine. Now imagine the EARTH moving below it all. The bottles clanking on each other were so loud, you couldn't even hear the person yelling to you from only a few steps away. It was at this moment that I said, "screw this, i'm outta here!" In one motion I placed a hand on my desk and leap over it side-saddle, and with two large steps, I was out of the building. I haven't ever moved that fast my entire life. All I could think about was the roof caving in and crushing everyone inside. Almost as soon as I made it outside, the shaking stopped. My heart took a few more seconds to steady down. Now I had to go and look for the aftermath of destruction inside. I envisioned a sea of red wine flowing through multiple isles and under shelves, but as luck would have it, not a single bottle fell over. There were hundreds of bottles hanging off the shelves ready to leap off with just another millisecond of shaking, but fortunately, nothing. We spent the next hour readjusting the wine bottles, but it was about all the fun I needed for the day. click below here for the specific earthquake facts. The USGS website has become a favorite site of mine. I was on it today which sparked me to write this very blog.
In the hours to follow, I was getting points and playful snickers from fellow co-workers. One them even came up to me and said, "afraid of earthquakes are we now?" I knew something was up. Turns out, my leap of terror was caught on camera on the stores security camera. I saw it and laughed it off. I was definitely kind of a sissy for a few seconds, but if the sky came crumbling down that day, I would have been in the clear. I have added the still frame from the camera shot. Enjoy it.