About 12.30am on Monday just as we were nearly asleep, New Zealand was hit by a 7.8 earthquake. It went on for over a minute, which for those of you who haven't been in an earthquake is about 25 "experience of being in it" minutes. The epicentre was off the cost of Kaikoura, which is on the upper North East coast of the South Island. It's the place you stop on the drive to or from the Picton Ferry for a coffee and to buy a crayfish, or to go whale watching.
Not for a while. The quake was the second largest ever to hit us since the 1920s. Or some such. Sea beds have risen, valleys have formed, it's amazing and terrifying. It was much bigger than the quakes that ravaged Christchurch in 2010 and 2011, just not centred somewhere with such dire consequences to an urban environment.
Meanwhile back in the Wellington CBD, we stood in the doorway listening to the banging and crashing go on and on and on and bloody on. When it finally calmed down, we went down into the courtyard with most of the residents of our complex, all trying to joke about it so we wouldn't scream or cry instead. In nothing but my robe, I went with MrC to the shop expecting a pile of rubble, but nope, a few unbreakables had toppled off the precariously made piles on the Christmas display. Out on the streets were groups of mostly young people in pjs, or wrapped in quilts, with backpacks. It felt like the Zombie apocalypse, sans Zombies.
Anyway, an hour of aftershocks and I was a mess. I rang my parents and we drove out to their place, which is on the flat, and new. And had brandy, it turns out. I say had, because the four of us finished the bottle before going to bed.
So, the CBD was closed on Monday, which is all very well but when 20,000 people live in it, what do you do?? We opened briefly but an aftershock was too much for me and I insisted we close again. Instead I spent the afternoon with my very calm friends Chris and Paul, eating chocolate and watching American football, and decompressing.
It has been BAU since then.
Except that several newer buildings in town are condemned, and none of the older ones which seemed to ride the rolling motion of this quake but maybe wouldn't handle a jolt from below? I'm not fussed about never finding out the hard way.
So, we here are now once again reminded that life on a sliver of land on a number of Pacific fault lines can be pretty exciting.
We are fine, if rattled; our business and home are fine. We do not mourn the two cheap wineglasses that broke, but we mourn the feeling that knowing we live on a fault line was an intellectual one, not a visceral experience.
The actual outcome is that the planned move of our business due to the building being sold earlier in the year, is brought forward to just after Christmas. The new building is newer, safer, and in a different if equivalently busy part of the city.
And last night in spite of it all, we did a show. More on that when the photos are available.
Right now I am going for a nap. I am really tired. Living on one's nerves for a week while getting a show onto the stage is a lot to handle.
TL,DR: Earthquakes suck, life goes on!