In South Oropouche, in an apartment I’m about to say goodbye to, the earth started moving around 5:31 p.m. It was wobbly, and increasingly strong – enough for my bookshelf to move. It walked maybe a inch during the entire incident. Once I felt it increasing in strength, I grabbed my phone and walked out into a clear area.
Earthquakes have a tendency to make some things fall down. Stronger earthquakes have a tendency to throw things. I wasn’t sure what I was in for, but I was certain that I wanted no part of being underneath concrete. I updated Facebook, hit Twitter, and waited. It was strong enough for me to walk outside, but not strong enough to do any damage. I knew that this wasn’t the epicenter, and I also knew that it might get worse, have aftershocks, or damage things sufficiently where they might break later.
The Earth stopped moving and updates came in. The first in was from the USGS at 6.8 in Venezuela, the next said it was 7.0, the last said 7.3. People in Trinidad and Tobago who had never experienced an earthquake were freaking out.
Yet in all the time standing outside, I saw not one single soul out on the trace. Everyone was inside. Everyone stayed inside. As if it were rain. A bad instinct. But it was over fast enough in my area.
Everyone on social media in Trinidad and Tobago was acting as if we were the epicenter. We weren’t. What I felt might have been, at most, a 4 – those up North in Trinidad got it worse; they were closer to the epicenter. Someone mentioned tsunamis.
Well, we are close enough to Venezuela that if there were going to be a tsunami, it would have hit by the time mention were made of it.
And all the while, I was wondering at that old system I had thought of and had begun work on all those years ago. Untrusted information was flying. That was the point of that system, to have that trust in the system. Social networks are flailing; Facebook didn’t ask me if I was safe until a while after – I had posted to them that the earthquake in Venezuela also affected Trinidad and Tobago. Whether that was the reason or not (I am no narcissist), I suddenly was asked if I was safe.
If only there were a system designed for that. Meh. They didn’t want it, they didn’t want it.
Well, yes, I am safe. I’ve been through worse, I’ve seen much worse results.
Trinidad and Tobago was lucky. Fortunate. No deaths reported so far. Property damage seems to be limited to North Trinidad. Videos and photos are making the rounds, the most of which seem legitimate – there’s always the trouble with disaster porn.
The sky, despite all reports you might hear otherwise, has not fallen near me. It has affected others much more than me, but it is not for me to write what they experienced.