Nothing Brings San Francisco Together Like Earthquake Twitter

It’s basically our Bat-Signal.

There are few things that can ban residents of the seven-by-together quite like a modest earthquake. The type of tremor that rattles our tiny desks, but doesn’t cause any significant amount of damage. 

They, like the 4.4-magnitude tremor that shook SF on Tuesday, September 3rd, elicit us to collectively type out “HI EARTHQUAKE TWITTER” from our keyboards. Though these shakes never merit sending a “you alright?” message to nearby family and friends.

We immediately check the United States Geological Survey’s latest incident report to see its scale; its epicenter; its capability of sending shockwaves across the Bay Area — and how far they reached.

Did we, in fact, feel it? Or did we, quite frankly, dissociate? Are we, perhaps, too high to steady ourselves?

As a cohort, we share in our ill-preparedness around the Big One that will inevitably strike the San Francisco Bay Area this century. It’s not that we’re not aware of this massive 7.0-plus-magnitude inevitability. It’s just that the pace and fragmentation of modern life have swept so many things under the proverbial rug. 

(How can we possibly build our earthquake emergency kits amid a looming recession? How can we muster up the energy needed to nestle rechargeable lithium batteries against rolls of gauze after we’ve just spent an hour getting our second monkeypox vaccine? We’re still contemplating the level of unease present when using those creepy-as-fuck palm scanners at Whole Foods.) 

(Have you not chosen any number of environmental or cultural or political or societal crises to research and, consequently, fall down their respective Reddit rabbit holes? This can all transpire before 2 p.m. on a Tuesday. Earthquake Twitter knows this; it is as forgiving as it is solacing.)

We’re not sure what exactly we’d take with us, should our rent-controlled domicile collapse in on itself. We’re a bit ashamed of this; we should know this; we now consider our subjective tiers of attachments to our various inanimate objects. 

But best believe the iPhone, AirPods, and Macbook Pro are all coming with us in the event of an earthquake. Hell, we’d probably even run back to grab the charging brick… because we’ve left one too many at a coffee shop… at the cost of around $80 each to replace.

Again: We San Franciscans are all climbing this decision tree together on Twitter the moment the creaky floors beneath our Allbirds tremble. 

Earthquake Twitter is also a time for us to wax anxious about aftershocks. Tsunami warnings. Blackouts. 

How our decades-old dining table (with legs that already wobble at the slightest disturbance) would collapse as the second kernels from our popcorn ceiling began falling on top of it. 

This is the very thing we’re meant to hunker beneath in the event of such a seismic event. The very thing meant to protect us from severe bodily harm. And we’re so fucked, should we ever find ourselves in such a position.

We downplay these tremors, cheekily sharing memes and GIFs of animated characters that are fast asleep — “me sleeping through another earthquake minding my own business.” Mother Nature can literally shake the bedrock beneath our feet, but some of us can’t even get a text back.

Whatever the reasons, we welcome and celebrate Earthquake Twitter whenever it enters back into the discourse. Maybe next time it does, we’ll finally remember to include a Swiss Army knife in those emergency kits.

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