'Have you just had an earthquake?'
'We've just had a massive earthquake'.
I immediately leapt out of bed, Googled 'recent earthquakes' and ended up here. There, just above Andreanof Islands in Alaska which registered a measly 2.6 (closer inspection did reveal it was an aftershock, though) was Christchurch New Zealand, with a seven after it's name.
Now, if something is going to make you shit yourself, let me assure you, that well and truly did.
Obviously it was nothing compared the terror, fear and subsequent heartbreak that Cantabrians suffered yesterday morning and are going to continue to suffer for some considerable time.
But since I wasn't dealing with basic things like survival and shock, my immediate thought was - how bad was it going to become? Exactly what was the extent of the damage going to be? How many deaths ?
At first, when journos were still scrambling from their beds, the only information on National Radio was coming from people who were texting in and all I could think of was, 'At least they can text in.'
I was terrified that someone was going to discover a suburb full of dead people.
I immediately started texting people that I care about to see if they were alright. It was interesting how the tone of the texts changed during day as, once the initial terror wore off, it seemed that an adrenalin high then kicked in, then later on, sadness, as reality kicked in.
I'll share a selection.
'Freaked out but ok.'
'Chimney's gone, house like bomb site and strange piles of silt in yard. Cut feet and bruises but, I'm good really.'
'We are all good. Lost the chimney, but we are fine. Bit worried about insertnameofwife's shop, cause we can't get to it.'
I replied: 'Heard about looting on radio, but if it's on the radio, it would have come from police, and if it came from police, they're on to it.'
Him: 'Cool, I will keep my cape and undies under lock and key for the meantime then..'
Me: 'Yes, Superman'.
'Lost lots of glassware and both the chimneys gone but we're all good. I've been doing some shabby brick work on the roof, which I've finished. Now just sitting in the sun being lulled to sleep by the gentle aftershocks. Ah! So restful. Like a hammock, but better.
'A disaster zone, just trying to clean up, very sad. How are you ?'
Hold on a moment, you've just been in a massive earthquake, I'm on solid ground and you're asking me how I am? Wow, that's generosity of spirit.
That shot is just outside my old office. Needless to say, it's fully screwed.
Something like this is Mother Nature yet again (Haiti earthquake, China earthquake, that volcano I can't spell, let alone pronounce, Pakistan floods) showing us how insignificant we are.
I prefer it when she ignores us.