We sent David Reilly to New York for the summer to find out how a Little Hipster in the Big City would get on. Here’s the first message we found in a Pepsi Max bottle that washed up on shore. 

Earlier today I experienced my first earthquake. Calling it “My First Earthquake” sounds a little too much like an inappropriate Fischer-Price toy and is also a bit possessive. Sure, millions of other people experienced it too, many for the first time, but none of them are writing this article.

My initial reaction to the tremor was, “The towels on the back of the door are moving awful fast for towels on the back of a door.” By the time I’d scrambled off my bed and put on my trusted skateboard helmet, the shaking had stopped as if nature had realised there was nothing it could do to harm me now. 

Your move, nature.

I think all in all the quake lasted about a minute. That may not seem very long, but if the earthquake was a show on an American television network, there would have been at least three commercial breaks in that time. Also, a minute is more than enough time for the entire East Coast to shit their pants six times over. Most buildings in Manhattan ordered the occupants to evacuate. The buildings themselves didn’t give the orders. Manhattan isn’t full of anthropomorphic buildings with a deep concern for the lives of humans. If you were hundreds of feet tall, made from concrete and steel and wore clouds as hats, would you care about humans? Didn’t think so. Where was I? Ah yes, evacuations. As I said the tremors last about a minute, which is a fraction of the time it would take to evacuate some of these sky scrapers. What if some poor fellow was rushing to the bathroom after needing to pee the entire way through a 45 minute meeting about the Johnson account.

He’d have to to further hold it in as he descended fifty something stories just to find out the quake was over. After the all clear, he’s in the elevator going back upstairs when, counting off the floors until he can finally relieve himself. Thirty five, thirty six, thirty sev-POP. His bladder explodes. All because of some over eager safety officer thinking he was the Arnold Schwarzenegger* of the health and safety world. By that I mean the saving of lives not the impregnation of housekeepers.There were so many people on the news who were on the verge of tears because their cat was woken from its early afternoon snooze or whose Pringles can almost fell off the kitchen counter.

I mean there were literally tens of people on the news with similar dilemmas. That’s not to say everyone was complaining. One woman compared the tremors to a ride at Disneyland. She was so excited she even re-enacted the noises that she thought an earthquake makes. It was both cute and sad in equal measures. Finally, ever the advocates of truth and neutrality, Fox News were running a story on how the earthquake had been organised by an underground alliance consisting of the blacks, gays, Al-Qaeda, single parents and the Mole People.

Update: Now we’re being told to expect Hurricane Irene to hit the city this weekend. Awesome. Somebody has decided to give divine control over the East Coast to Roland Emmerich.

*Fun fact: Arnold Schwarzenegger once owned a bricklaying business and profited greatly from the 1971 San Fernando Earthquake.