The ground gave during a 5.9 earthquake centered 80 miles southwest of the District. I had just returned home from taking an elderly friend to the grocery store. What, at first felt like a very heavy truck driving by quickly became intense shaking.
My first thought was that some terrible structural problem was going to bring down our high rise apartment building. I heard things falling but didn't bother looking for them and went to the metal door frame of our bathroom.
Having never experienced an actual earthquake I started quaking. Grabbing my purse, I headed down the hall to collect a neighbor and took the stairs to get outside. Stuttering and knees quaking, I asked some college students with cellphones what they were hearing. That's when I heard it was an actual earthquake in Virginia.
It's been about one and a half hours since we rumbled and I'm somewhat anxious about after shocks, but since there's nothing I can do about it, I'm ready to evacuate again, if need be.
However, I can't get a troubling memory out of my mind. When the plane hit the Pentagon a few miles from us on September 11 the sensation felt very similar.