I turned on the radio to the news station at 7:11 this morning. A reporter was talking about a collapsed freeway and the chaos all around.
"Oh my God," I thought, "there must have been a hell of an earthquake. Where..."
At that moment, she named the freeway. It was the Cypress Freeway.
I immediately relaxed, realizing that today is October 17, and the radio station was rebroadcasting a reporter's story from 21 years ago.
I remember how life changed all around me in the aftermath of the momentary shift of a couple of earth's plates. I remember where I was when it started, who I was with, what I grabbed when I fled the office, how we managed to navigate through the San Francisco streets, what the natural gas leaking out in the Marina smelled like, how we just managed to get over the Golden Gate Bridge before the closed it to check it, and where we holed up, powerless, in the safety that was Marin.
I got an email from a client yesterday. Her husband has just been diagnosed with a brain tumor, she wrote. She doesn't know what will happen, how much she can devote to the huge project she has been responsible for since its inception 15 years ago. Someone else is stepping in, a woman my client just hired, serendipity clearly at work.
I told her I'd pray for her, her husband and their two young boys. She happens to live in my town, so I pointed out that I'd be happy to do anything she needed on a personal level.
She told me to pray that the images are wrong and this is benign.
In an instant, their lives are dramatically altered in the aftermath of the shifting of cells.