if you've been in enough earthquakes, you know that the first thing you ought to watch out for is the noise. it has a deep boom that you can feel while the ground shakes and the windows rattle.
smaller earthquakes just feel like mild disorientation. like how sometimes you're sitting on a sofa and staring into space, and when you tune in, right at that moment, you feel like everything moved just a little bit.
the slightly bigger earthquakes are much, much louder. the doors and windows rattle, the steel almirahs dance on their already unstable legs, the floor vibrates, and every other piece of furniture is moving like there's a drill underneath.
obviously, i haven't been in really really big earthquakes or i wouldn't be writing this, but i suspect they're louder than anything else, and it's not just the doors and windows and furniture that are moving or threatening to fall down.
anyway, the point of writing this was to provide context to a conversation i just had.
"okay, the AC was making a noise then."