5:04 p.m., 10/17/1989, 24 years ago today, where were you? I was at my desk writing an appraisal report. It was a warm October day. Door was closed and all my windows were open. I was sitting in a sixth-floor corner office in an 86-year-old office building at the southwest corner of Mission and New Montgomery Streets. The building had survived the 1906 quake only to be gutted by the fire in the aftermath. I was tapping away at the keyboard when I noticed the first shake. “Oh, I said, we’re having an earthquake.” It continued and I thought to myself, “Oh, it’s a good one.” Then I heard the windows rattling and the wood frames splitting and the bricks of the façade crumbling and I dove under my desk. I heard loud noises from outside like things falling and crashing and I said to myself, “Oh, I’m gonna die!” I jumped right over that executive desk in a single bound and ran for the elevators. The main office was empty. I got to the elevator lobby and every person from every office on the floor was standing there wide-eyed and huddled together. My friend Sam had his two big hands covering the heads of two little gals who worked at the other end of the hall. Just to tempt the fates, however, I moved 15 miles south and now my back yard is the San Andreas Fault. Twenty-four years, no more big ones – knock on wood.
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