Friday, October 17, 2014

Shake Rattle and Roar.

Where were you twenty five years ago at almost this moment? I was sitting in my therapy office on Franklin St. in San Francisco. a two story brick building erected in 1903, awaiting my next client. I had just heard the rumble of the Loma Prieta but thought my five o'clocker would show up. I was the only one in the building and had no idea what was happening, other than we had an earthquake. I waited about ten minutes and then decided to go downstairs and walk around the block. To my horror as I walked the block to Van Ness I saw devastation everywhere. Glass was all over the place as well as hunks of concrete and bricks. It was growing dark. "Oh my," I sighed. "Guess I'd better get home".
So I hopped in my '64 bug and headed for the Bay bridge. Within a block the car radio reported the Bay bridge was down. So I debated. "Should I return to my office and sleep on the floor, or should I head for the Golden Gate Bridge, then the San Raphael bridge and through Berkeley to Oakland?" I decided on the latter. The San Francisco streets were pretty empty of moving cars. At a few intersections residents had gone out to direct traffic, as there were no signals or lights.
The toll booths were empty, and I was perhaps one of two or three cars on the bridge. It was eerie, but I said to myself, "If this bridge collapses on me, what a glorious way to go." No kidding, I really did.
Arriving finally safe in Berkeley I stopped at my office there and called Lee at home, where she was mighty glad to hear from me.  Folks in Berkeley were out and about, looking pretty normal.
That is only part of the story, though. The next day when I went back to my Berkeley office for scheduled appointments I found the front door crashed in as well as all the inner doors in the converted home which served five therapists. We were about five blocks from UC. From my office the telephone answering machine was stolen and papers scattered around. I learned later that day when the police came that the Berkeley druggies were terrified they could not get to San Francisco for their drug buys, and so raided many offices where they thought doctors might have drugs.
So much for how the Loma Prieta affected me.
When I got the call that afternoon to volunteer at the Berkley free clinic because so many druggies were upset, I declined. I'm sure you understand why.

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