The sky is a weird glowing grey. I don’t think sound is actually muffled but it SEEMS muffled. A strange sort of hush that could just be my imagination. The air doesn’t smell of smoke so much as…something burned. Rubber or gas or a little wood of all of it together. And this time, the ash isn’t falling like snow, not in Santa Monica anyway, and not at home in the valley. I can’t see it coming down but my car has a fine coat on it and when I wipe the windowsills, they are covered with grit again a few minutes later.
I don’t normally have breathing problems but my short walk to the grocery store has left my throat burning and my lungs raw. And the constant onslaught of stuff in the air has me stuffed up and sinus headachy.
So far, everyone I know is safe. Their houses are safe and their families are safe. But that’s just a few people. So many more are still in danger of losing everything. We are fine. The valley isn’t on fire but it makes me wonder, if it was, how fast could it move?
A co-worker called in the other day to say he wasn’t being evacuated but he was preparing, just in case. He said he had packed his wife’s car with their stuff and was trying to figure out what else he needed to gather. He said his wife wanted family photos and the like but he wasn’t interested in that kind of thing. He wondered what was actually important enough for him to worry about losing. I suggested he gather his legal papers, his birth certificate, marriage license, passport, wills. He said he hadn’t even thought about that stuff. In the end, his house was safe and he didn’t have to evacuate.
When I first moved to Los Angeles, it was an “el Niño” year. It rained a lot. That song wasn’t wrong, the next line after “It never rains in Southern California…” Is “It pours, man, it pours.” The past few years however, not so much rain. Yesterday there was 8% humidity. It’s better today, it’s 9%. Everyone is telling me that they can’t get enough to drink and I am itchy all the time. The winds have died down and it’s not as bad as it could be but it’s still really dry and hot. The weather reports actually say things like “areas of smoke and haze are possible, reducing visibility at times.” I never thought of smoke counting as “weather" before I lived here.