Layoff, shmayoff –- I was 12 years old when the Loma Prieta quake hit 19 years ago. Sunny afternoon. An average Thursday and no reason to suspect anything was wrong. I had just gotten out of the shower and was about to get dressed when the shaking hit. It was far, far worse than I’d ever felt before. I dove for the doorjamb right about the same time my Dad appeared in another doorway. No time to throw pants on. I had to go commando through the worst quake in Bay Area history.
We both braced ourselves and held on — him in one doorway and me in another –- for what seemed like forever but was maybe 15 seconds until the shaking stopped.
Under different circumstances it would have been a typical ZOMGEmbarrassed! moment, but Dad never mentioned it afterwards. My brother thought it was hilarious ... later. The house survived, minus a speaker that fell from the top of the entertainment center. We watched on TV as footage came in of the crushed Cypress Structure. We listened to the commentary from X100 FM, who luckily had a backup transmitter. My uncle normally would have been on the Cypress right at 5:04. He stayed home for one reason or another, probably saving his life. What I remember now is that right before hell hit, all my Dad was worried about was finding a job.