I once lived in a four dwelling apartment building in San Francisco that just barely survived the quake of 1989. One of the fears from a quake was the shifting of a house off of its foundation. In this event, it was indeed a sad circumstance for a number of homes in the Richmond District, and would necessitate their eventual demolition.
On that day in October (the third game of the Bay Area World Series was just starting) I was with a client on the 15th floor of a building across from the BofA downtown. The sway back and forth was dramatic, as was the view of Chinatown as the large window scanned back and forth. In a minute or two spirals of smoke began to head upward here and there and we knew we had just had a big one.
We descended the stairs to the street to find mayhem in the streets. Public transportation was dead in its tracks and taxis were all jam packed. I finally caught a ride in a car full of people going to the Richmond, my neighborhood. On our way there we passed many a building that had taken a hit and we all began to feel anxious.
My apartment was a mess, all the bookshelves had toppled, but there was no significant damage done. We in that building had lucked out.
Nothing like an earthquake to remind you how puny you are.