Now I know what an earthquake feels like. It is very strange to feel the earth shake. The quake in Washington, DC only lasted for 30 seconds (anything longer than that would have been terrifying - 30 seconds is just long enough to realize something strange is happening and to think about it for a bit and then it stops) and was just under 6.0 on the Richter scale - much smaller than the quakes they get in Haiti, New Zealand, Japan and California. But since we never have quakes like this on the east coast, it was quite remarkable.
The damage from the quake was minor. My copy of The Little Book of Calm (perhaps the one book I would need immediately after an earthquake) fell off the shelf it was on. And a framed copy of a photograph of the Chicago Water Tower (one of only a few buildings to survive the Great Chicago Fire of 1871) fell off a bookcase and into a lampshade. I have tons of books stacked all over the place - floor to ceiling stacks that are begging for trouble - but for some reason, none fell. (My desktop looked like a pile of rubble but that's kind of how it usually looks.)