Visitors from around the world flock to San Francisco and often find the city too cold. Residents laugh at that. The tourists come at the height of summer. Yet San Francisco seems warmest in the autumn. That October day was no different; perfect weather for game three of the World Series. The Series was entirely a Bay area event that year with San Francisco’s Giants playing their rivals, the Oakland Athletics. The A’s had won the first two games, but game three was being played in San Francisco’s Candlestick Park and the Giants were hoping for a home-team advantage.
I was sitting at my desk in my bookstore when the computer screen flickered briefly. I tried to hit the two keys on the keyboard that would save my document, but the keyboard wouldn’t hold still long enough. The screen went dark and the lights inside the bookstore went out.
A roar drowned out the sound of the rush-hour traffic. At four minutes past five the afternoon traffic was always heavy, but this wasn’t traffic; it was the city itself—the entire city—groaning as it was lurched from side to side. Waves moved under my feet, I was surfing on land. The waves clearly came from the south hitting the front of the shop and flowing through it. Books on the shelves lurched first toward me, sprang back and then jerked in the opposite direction.
How many more minutes would go by before it would stop? What seemed so endless at the time was just 15 seconds in duration.