Suddenly, the dishes in my Bali villa rattled, like my kitchen did when I used to live on Avenue B and a bus would roar by every twenty minutes. Or at home in Jersey City when the group of young men on sports motorbikes would roar by, helmetless, on a hot August night.
But I was in the middle of a the idyllic rice paddies of Ubud, Bali. There wasn't a road within 100 meters. Everything that comes in to this compound arrives on someone's back or head. Not even scooters can zip back here.
I didn't stop for my shoes or my phone or my laptop. At least I was wearing clothes and not pajamas.
I have to get out of here!
I ran down the stairs and got clear of the house, then glanced up at the terra cotta tiles on the roof of the guard house I was standing next to, then moved away from there too. I glanced up at the coconut tree above me and moved again.
The young woman who cleans the villas came over too. Together we watched the cottages shake. The water tower, which catches rainwater, was particular frightening to watch as it swayed precariously.
And then the shaking stopped. We stood uncertainly for a minute, then looked at each other for a minute. I shrugged and headed back into my villa.
Nothing was broken, so I went back to work. Or rather, went straight to Facebook and Twitter to tell everyone I knew about the earthquake.
We had an aftershock later in the day.
And that time, I remembered my shoes and my phone.