So apparently I just experienced an earthquake.
I first noticed something while sitting at a stoplight at Thomas circle. At first I thought something was wrong with my bike, because it felt like the engine was causing the whole bike to shake. I revved the engine to see if that would fix it, but the shaking continued exactly the same.
Thats when I noticed that the street lights and traffic lights were shaking too. I wrote it off to the fact that there's a tunnel underneath the circle, and figured somehow a truck was making the whole bridge shake. Though curiously there weren't many cars - and zero trucks - in the intersection...
When I got around to the other side of the circle, I noticed the shaking continue, and maybe even get stronger. A pedestrian walked by me as I waited at the light and put his hands out (like a zombie sort of) and shook them. I thought he was just mimicking the motorcycle, so I just nodded and pulled away, as the light had just changed.
As I continued to where I was going (the Municipal Center to protest my ticket), I noticed that there were a ton of people just standing around on the sidewalks, looking like they had nothing to do.
It seemed pretty strange, especially since it wasn't lunch or anything. I wondered to myself if maybe some presidential thing was going on and they had to evacuate for security reasons, or maybe there had been a bomb threat. But as I continued down the street, that seemed more and more implausible, as every building seemed to be evacuated.
I got to the street I needed to turn on, and there was a cop SUV in the middle of the street, but no cop there... So I kinda snuck by and got a parking spot (one of the many benefits of the motorcycle).
I walked down to the municipal building, but there were guards standing in front of it. About that time I overheard someone say something about how they weren't letting anyone in, and sure enough when I crossed the street, the guard turned me back and told me to stay on the other side of the street.
I checked my phone and found out about the quake, and went back to my bike to wait and see what happened. A few interesting things happened while I was waiting: a huge firetruck pulled up and put a ladder up to a nearby building to evacuate someone; the courthouse bussed three busloads of prisoners out to be taken elsewhere; someone nearby said they were rescheduling everything in the courthouse for tomorrow; and they strung caution tape across the entire road in a few places, and U.S. Marshalls with assault rifles patrolled briefly (they're still hanging out across the street from me).
So. I guess I'll protest my ticket online. In the mean time, hopefully some of the museums are still open.