Tuesday, August 23, 2011

God provides

If I thought it was tough mining blog material from a 10-person project, now that we're a five-person project it's practically impossible to come up with anything interesting. It's a little like not having enough fissile material to achieve critical mass for a nuclear explosion. Not that I want to compare contract attorneys to fissile material. Plutonium is much more fun to hang out with. But I digress.

Anyway, ever since the project got cut back, I've been left without material, save declaring myself pope. Granted, it's only been one day, but still. Having been recently elevated to pope, though, I of course have a direct line to God. Naturally, I asked for a little material to write about. Careful what you ask for.

I'm not claiming responsibility, and I'm not saying God did this because I asked for something to write about, but today we had an earthquake. This is not something that happens on the East Coast. I guess if you have access to news sources -- and if you don't, you probably don't have access to this blog -- you know we had a quake that hit 5.9 on the Richter scale. It's kind of candy-assed as earthquakes go, and you dont' get a lot of damage from something like that, but this is DC. We outsourced our earthquakes to California a long time ago.

So a little before 2 this afternoon, the floor started to shake. At first I thought a tank was driving by, then I realized that a) we were on the 9th floor and probably wouldn't feel a tank; b) I couldn't hear a tank, and the soundproofing of our building leaves something to be desired; and c) why the fuck would a tank be driving down L Street? The shaking continued for a good 20 seconds or more. At some point I decided this must be an earthquake, which led me to wonder whether the fastest way street level would be to take the stairs, the elevator, or wait for the building to collapse. Similar thoughts apparently went through everyone's heads, because everybody else on the project headed for the exits, as did the folks on the other projects on the floor. I started to join them when a realization hit me: I had no intention of dying while badly in need of a trip to the john. So instead of heading down the stairs with everybody else, I went to the bathroom and took care of business.

When I came out, everybody but the Japanese chicks were gone. One of the projects on the floor is a Japanese-language project, which is staffed mostly by native Japanese speakers. Most of them are either from Japan, or are Nissei, second generation with family in Japan. These folks apparently know their earthquakes and don't evacuate a building unless the poo has really hit the fan. Encouraged that they were still there, I stayed, too. I went back to my desk and resumed clicking. My confidence may have been misplaced, as I later learned that their project manager sent everybody home minutes after I decided that if the Japanese chicks could stay, so could I.

After about an hour, everybody from my project straggled back in. Building management wasn't keen on letting folks back in at first, but decided to do so anyway, since no alarms ever went off, they hadn't actually evacuated the building and, frankly, they had no damn idea how many people like me had simply not left to begin with. There was some debate among the temps about whether to hit the bricks -- building management wasn't mandating evacuation, but they were denying all responsibility for our deaths if the building collapsed. Suitably encouraged, we all stayed. Needless to say, motivation was low, and production suffered.

And for next week, we have Hurricane Irene on deck. I can't wait.

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