From the earthquake files:
Earthquakes send several types of seismic waves through the average Oklahoma household.
The slightest quake sends wee wavelets through the house detectable only by a slight ripple in the cat’s water dish, noticeable only if a cat actually witnesses it.
Humans often realize such a quakelet and its associated wavelets have occurred only after observing prolonged immobility and water-staring by a cat.
Occasionally, this form of tiny quake can cause slight movement of food pellets in a cat food bowl, revealing the bowl bottom before a cat thinks it should be visible.
A cat, mistakenly believing the bowl to be prematurely empty, indignantly “acts out” or caterwauls in panic totally out of proportion to the earthquake event.
Despite the extremely slight movement of the earth, the cause here is known as a Hellcat Wave.
Next is a quake large enough to cause dishes to rattle slightly and certain adult beverages to spontaneously foam.
These are startling things to experience for most Oklahomans. Such waves, stemming from quakes of precisely 3.2 magnitude, are known to cause one to want a drink, but not really.
These are known, technically, as Low-Point Waves.
A third common quake in Oklahoma is one big enough to cause motion in a swivel-equipped rocking recliner. Seismic waves create a slight Tilt-A-Whirl effect and can cause the hint of nausea.
The mix of rocking and rolling can cause one to twist one’s body in exiting said recliner while shouting out in surprise.
The waves that create such phenomena are known as Beatles Waves. (Alternately known as Isley Waves, Springsteen Waves or Ferris Bueller Waves.)
Next is a quake big enough to cause waves large enough to actually move home furnishings.
In my own case, I have observed the toppling of three books from the top of a bookcase. OK, actually, I found the three books on the floor next to the bookcase. Paperback books. That were precariously perched.
OK, it could have been gravity. Or a cat.
Call this a D Wave. For Dubious. Or for Do What?
Finally is the kind of wave that struck last Monday. People felt it from downtown Oklahoma City, to Edmond, where I was at home, to Guthrie, Shawnee and Stillwater, at 4.2 magnitude. It was the shortest of the four or five quakes I’ve felt at home, but it was the waviest.
The walls and ceiling creaked. The three heavy-laden bookshelves close by — laden with heavy books — groaned and moved a little.
It was a rolling sensation that hit the bottom of my feet first, then climbed my legs to my seat and shot into my internal organs. Suddenly, I had to go to the bathroom.
This is known as a P Wave.
Filed under: Laugh to Keep from Crying.