Stephanie and I were in an Uber heading to a meeting in Polanco, and we had turned onto Avenida Paseo de la Reforma, with the Museo Nacional de Antropología on our right and the gigantic Bosque de Chapultepec on the left. I had my window open because it was beautiful outside, as it almost always is in Mexico City. And then I heard it, a crazy siren sound that seemed to rise out of the woods rather than a vehicle.

“That sounds like the siren you hear at the beginning of a movie about a zombie apocalypse,” I joked, “and then it flashes forward to two years later and everyone is dead.”

When we arrived at the office for our meeting, we ended up having to wait for a while, and our attention turned to a TV in the waiting area that was broadcasting news about an earthquake that was happening somewhere in Mexico. We had never been in an earthquake, but we knew they were fairly common in the center of Mexico, and in Mexico City in particular. And so we paid a bit more attention to the news than we might have otherwise. The footage showed people standing outside in the streets, but it didn’t seem like anyone had been hurt or any property had been damaged.

When the other people arrived for the meeting, they pointed to the TV news coverage, and so I asked them if they knew where the earthquake had hit. I didn’t know enough Spanish to understand the location from the TV, but something I had heard made me believe that it had happened in Oaxaca, which isn’t that far from Mexico City. Maybe there would be aftershocks.

That happened here, I was told. It had hit when they were driving to the meeting.

Which meant that it had hit when Stephanie and I were driving to the meeting, in the Uber. And that explained the siren. It was an earthquake warning.

But we hadn’t even felt it.

When I asked about that, I learned that’s the case with most earthquakes. And that when you hear that siren, you should head outside immediately, just in case.

And that was how we experienced our first Mexico City earthquake. Hopefully, they’ll always be that uneventful.

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