The terribly unnerving thing about earthquakes is that when they start you never know how long they'll last or if they are going to develop into something very much worse.
It's being helpless as the building jolts, sways and creaks that grates. Usually it doesn't last long but it always leaves me feeling light headed, which is probably the result of blood draining from the confused brain.
The other horrible thing about the earth shaking is hearing about it when you are in another city, although in the case of the 7.5 tidal earth wave, it was certainly better not to be in Wellington. But it's the not knowing, although in your heart of hearts you do know, that your possessions have been hurled around the place by the unforgiving forces of Mother Nature.
It's seeing the devastation that's heart wrenching, the irreplaceable gift from your late mother lying in pieces on the floor, the heavy, bronze sculpture snapped from its base, the antique couch leg broken by a flying microwave oven, the large Chinese cabinet hurled across the room, spilling its contents of crockery, glassware and liquor across the carpet.
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Cleaning up into the small hours of the morning as the frequent aftershocks sway the 15th-floor apartment at the top of the tower block makes you wonder whether you'll be doing this all over again in the morning. After the last big one you heeded advice and bracketed furniture to the wall but brackets are no match for the force of the earth rolling below.
But it does make you appreciate that you weren't asleep in the building when the big one struck; that would have been totally unnerving.
The opportunistic real estate agent, lingering in the foyer, asking if apartments are for sale as you lug boxes of broken glass into the rubbish room, doesn't help your feeling of uncertainty.
On a positive note the earthquake has opened up a channel of communication between the Beehive and Trump Tower in New York. President-elect Donald Trump is expected to talk for the first time to John Key today.
After accepting condolences from the man who's known Stateside as the blue-collar billionaire, Key's not going to give the elephant in the Trump penthouse free rein. Like a flea in its ear, he's going to ask The Don to engage over the Trans Pacific Partnership that he so vehemently attacked on his bitter campaign.
Now that will be much easier said than done!