About a month ago, my wonderful and funny friend, Cathy, asked if her readers have pen pals. I was happy to report that I did in fact have one although I've been told recently that the correct term is "virtual friend."
Ruth and I met on GoodReads and have been emailing each other for almost a year now. We decided to actually meet in Washington DC and stay at the home of her sister, another GoodReads friend. We shared so many laughs, talking about everything from books to family and just about anything imaginable.
The three of us were all interested in seeing the new Museum of Crime and Punishment -- they reportedly show how CSI is made -- and went there on Tuesday. We had been there only a few minutes and had just looked at the documents on Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing when the floor shook pretty violently and there was a loud rumbling as if a big train was passing beneath us. There was always a chance this was some really realistic simulation, maybe a scared straight tactic, but then the lights went out and a blood curdling cry rang out. The lights came back on and a very frightened employee tried to usher us out and told us, "We might be having an earthquake." We couldn't get out that way and were redirected to another exit. Most of us were feeling beyond relief to just be outside and to know that that this was not a terroristic attack but one man stood there, demanding that he be reimbursed for his ticket.
We spent a couple of hours standing in the sun outside Union Station with throngs of people since all the buildings in the area had been evacuated. Many of these individuals had been there on September 11th, almost 10 years ago, and this, I'm sure, was an eery deja vu experience for them.
A few hours after it all started, we were grateful to be relaxing at home, watching reports of the earthquake and the havoc it wreaked on various buildings, including the Washington Monument and Union Station.
This was a wonderful trip for me, giving me the long anticipated opportunity to meet my lovely friend and her wonderful family. It was also a wake-up call to appreciate the peace we experience every day. I really don't mind that we missed out on seeing the other exhibits at the museum but I just might write to them to request a refund.
Pax vobiscum or "peace be with you" for those who didn't have to translate Latin in high school and those of us who had to look it up because we couldn't remember the exact wording!