I’m a Bay Area native. I lived on Carl Street at Stanyan in the outer Haight that day. I was a tour guide and did a Chinatown tour in the morning. After that, I ran upstairs into the stacks at the main library for some research material, drove across the Bay Bridge to Oakland on an errand and had just gotten home, turned on the World Series and started to wash the dishes when it happened. My one cat ran out through my bedroom window and my other cat ran in. He and I stood in the doorway of my bedroom, looking up at Sutro Tower and watching the bedroom walls cave in and out like a very bad acid experience. When it finally stopped and the building alarm went off, we went out into our backyard and someone from the building behind shouted that the Bay Bridge had collapsed. And that’s how the news travelled, by word-of-mouth from neighbors; news about the fires, about the Cypress structure and where the damage was the worst. We were in the middle of it, but without power, people in New Jersey were more informed than us.
I think the worst thing about the earthquake is that when I was going through it, I just kept thinking that, finally, here’s “The Big One” and it’s going to be over in just a few more seconds and then we are off the hook for another hundred years. But it wasn’t.
I don’t live in San Francisco anymore and I hate being on freeway overpasses.