Stephanie Burgis
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Funny what a difference our expectations make in interpreting what's happening to us...

Last night, in the middle of the night, I woke up very suddenly. At first I wasn't sure why I'd woken up; then I realized Maya was trying to get into bed; then I realized why she was doing that: the whole room was shaking, bed, floor, chest of drawers and walls, and there was a loud, low rumbling sound coming from outside.

And my reaction? Huh. That wind outside has gotten really bad.

The rumbling and the shaking stopped a couple of seconds later. Maya went back to her own bed. I went back to sleep. And it wasn't until I woke up this morning and read the news that I realized the truth: of course, it had been an earthquake. My first earthquake, as you can probably also guess - it was so far outside the realm of my experience, as someone from Michigan, that it just didn't even occur to me as a possibility. (If I'd been in California, even as a native Michigander, the possibility might have occurred to me; but earthquakes are rare in England, last night's was the largest in 25 years, and it's not something that was in the back of my mind as an option to expect.)

Anyway, there was no harm done in our part of the country; even in the worst-affected areas, only one person was injured and there was some very minor property damage. But it was an interesting moment for me to realize how much I filter my own experiences through the kinds of events I expect might happen. How exactly would wind outside have made our bed shake???? God knows. But I'm familiar with windy weather, so that was what my brain told me must be happening last night.

I wonder how often it tells me other things and I don't get an external correction in the morning news?

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