When the earthquake hit Washington, D.C. Tuesday afternoon, it seemed nonlife-threatening, but important. No casualties. No serious injuries. No mass destruction. When compared to recent global earthquakes, the Washington, D.C. earthquake seemed almost uneventful.

Later, after talking with and observing a few of the many who had gathered outside of the Safeway grocery store in Southwest - the one near the new Arena Stage right by the entrance of the Waterfront Metro - I started to learn just how Washingtonians felt about the earthquake.

I first saw it on a number of faces. One casually-dressed lady, on her way to a reportedly slow-moving Waterfront metro, summed it up. “I’ve been in a lot of earthquakes before, but this was different. It was scary.”

Scary! I was thinking,” How could that be? Scary?” It seemed a little over the top...or so I thought.

Another person must have agreed with my “over the top” thinking because instead of exiting Safeway with a drove of interrupted shoppers, she was going against the flow and entering the store.

“I’m from California,” I heard her tell her male companion in tow, “I’m used to this. This is nothing.”

Nothing? Nothing? I don’t know if the word “nothing” captures what I felt either.

I’ve decided that “nothing” doesn’t do it for me, but “scary” seems to register. Have you noticed when you don’t know or you aren’t ready for something, “scary” seems to happen, especially when it happens as quickly as an earthquake? Let’s face it District of Columbia, we didn’t know the earthquake was coming and we weren’t ready. That’s the formula for scary.

I am willing to make a bet with the readers of this blog: Since the earthquake shake zone reportedly stretched from as far north as Canada to as far west as Chicago and to as far south as Atlanta, I bet there are many communities right now that will come to the same conclusion about the earthquake that the lady came to who was on her way to the Waterfront metro: “It was scary.”

What do you think? How did you feel?