It started with an earthquake (though without birds, snakes, nor an aeroplanes), just a few minutes ago here in San Francisco. I was in the bathroom. If you're in the bathroom, a seismic event can be a lot like the end of a prom night after party. The whole thing consisted of a few seconds of random, aimless vibrating. I was scared and confused the whole time. When it was over, I zipped up my pants and tried not to cry.
As a California resident, you can get jaded about earthquakes. The event lasts only a few seconds. Afterward, unless there's a fire, or your power goes out, or a freeway collapses, all that's left is to confirm that you did feel a real tremor and are not hallucinating.
If you experience a hurricane or a tornado, I can see how that can lead to some good conversation. You drove away from the storm, you hid in the shelter, you saw a cow get picked up by a funnel cloud, whatever. There's a narrative to a storm story.
Earthquakes are non sequiturs. They happen without warning, so there's never context for an earthquake story. The narrator rarely realizes what is happening until the event is nearly over. It's a dramatic event presented by the most limited witness imaginable. Even the best earthquake story boils down to, "I was in a weird place", or "This thing fell."
Still, when enormous tectonic plates shift in the lithosphere, you need to tell someone, even if there's nothing to tell. According to Sonoma County community service officer Al Tuppman, "Nobody's called for assistance, no one's reporting any problems. They were just letting me know that they felt it."