It always seemed terribly unfair that Wellington was supposed to get the big earthquake, but Christchurch took the hit. As a Wellingtonian you know you're living in a very hip city that's destined to one day go "poof" in a puff of concrete dust.
Admittedly, the quakes a couple of years ago that were so bad that Simon Doull and Wendy Petrie came down to present the news infront of a crumpled fascade down town did give us a rocket. All of a sudden any building deemed dodgy or vaguely unsafe was forced to clean up its act, meet building codes and, if it failed, was given a big red sticker.
Thank God for those warning earthquakes. Thank God for them.
On Sunday at midnight on the twelfth floor of my well-constructed apartment building it felt like I was going to be picked up and thrown into the harbour. It was terrifying. I'm sure it was nothing compared to the horror others felt in the deadly Christchurch quake, and certainly nothing compared to the horror of Hanmer that night, but it was still the most terrified I've ever been.
The most stunning part of this petrifying adventure was watching people's videos of the earthquake.
How the hell did anyone manage to wander around their house taking video? I couldn't have got off the bed if I tried. If I had I would have ended up in a sea of bottles, pictures fallen off the walls and, for some reason, onions. The kitchen pantry door flew open and sent onions on a bowling exercise. There were onions everywhere. Mirrors crashed to the floor, drawers flung wide open, shelves were broken. Every bottle in the place was thrown on the floor, and there was a triffid-type invasion of bloody onions.
As Wellingtonians we live knowing we are simply, quietly, waiting for the big one. Everyone knows it, but presently we are learning the horror via other lottery losers. The people of Seddon and Canterbury have seriously had way more than their share. Life is not fair. No one said it should be. But the rock and roll, the carnage and tragedy they have been forced to endure just seems very un-Kiwi. We like to share our good and bad luck about and, right now, that's not the case.
Being on the top floor of a building built to swing (as in bend, not hold freaky parties), it felt like we might all either die or, at the very least, be very injured. Instead we were emotionally shattered and left in a sea of onions.
Wellington's big one will come, and I hope we're ready. God only knows it's going to be hell. Auckland is looking particularly attractive. Tough, but it's a damn fair call. I'm still finding onions under my bed - gimmie a break!