Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Ash.

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.

2 comments:

acmcclendon said...

when driving through rural parts of oklahoma, you will see road signs that say "DO NOT DRIVE INTO SMOKE." like, duh. i'm guessing they mean smoke from people burning their trash, but heck i don't know, i'm a californian.
glad to know you and snarky dork are ok - feel free to visit tulsa anytime, we're fairly smoke free and when we're not, we know not to drive into it.
**side note, your word verification is spelling "aomygdz" - i think that's funny, omg.

Brenda Griffith said...

We are supposedly in a drought here in Georgia, but the only evidence I see of it is the level of Lake Lanier--and there seem to be too many political issues around where the water goes from it for me to take it too seriously. My lawn is lush and green as are all my potted plants and flower beds--and I haven't watered this summer (I don't water lawns). The south may *say* drought, but we seem to get enough rain to keep everything moist (even the moss in my sidewalk is thriving).

Montana, on the other hand, is in drought like California. The ground is obviously thirsty and every drop of rain--few though there are--is immediately sucked into earth.

Hang in there, get a humidifier for your house for when it's really bad.