Tuesday afternoon, I was wrapping up a column on wardrobe moving boxes (which has hence been bumped to next week) when the Express offices, on the fifth floor of an elderly Washington Post building, began to shake. I thought, “Oh, turbulence,” for a second before an editor shouted, “It’s an earthquake!”
Being from Florida, I know how to make windows hurricane-proof and outrun alligators, but I didn’t know that one shouldn’t attempt to exit a building during an earthquake. I was one of the first employees to reach the stairwell, where I was able to set a steady evacuation pace.
In four-inch heels.
My earthquake heels — as I will now call them — are a pair of brown BCBG stilettos I bought from Goodwill for $5. I didn’t think to remove them, even as I saw a Californian co-worker shed her shoes before bolting. Because I was hobbled by my footwear, the evacuation wasn’t panicked or hurried. No one slipped in the process. We safely got outside, at which point I realized I was one of the few women who’d left my purse behind. In both fashion or natural disasters, it always pays to accessorize.