25 October 2007

This unrest

I was awakened at 5:30 this morning by a helicopter hovering over my house. Initially, I couldn't figure out what the persistent rumble was, and then panic took over my brain: HELICOPTER! FIRE'S BACK!

The spouse stirred, and I said, "What the hell is that?"

"A helicopter," he murmured, unconcerned.

It wandered back and forth over our neighborhood for half an hour then wandered away, just in time for KUSC to pop on the clock radio and play the Granadian national anthem.

I ASK you!

"The helicopter was probably to do with Bush's visit today," the spouse said, philosophically, getting up.

At least the Governator had the decency to keep his arrival down the street quiet yesterday.

The sky remains a hellish soup with the return of the fog. It's all a tradeoff.

I finally had to venture out today because the daughter's head will explode if she doesn't get a Halloween costume soon. Most of the debris from downed trees has been cleaned up, with the exception of a stray branch here and there. As I drove to the stores, ash fell merrily and persistently.

The daughter wants to be a "pirate-ess" (her term), and the son wants to be Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The daughter will be discouraged to learn that I bought her a boy's outfit because the option for her was "Tavern Wench" and I draw the line at any sort of wench for my 10-year-old. I drew the line at a leather trench coat for the son weeks ago, and he'll have to make do with a black tee, tight black jeans and fangs, and if I'm feeling charitable, I'll spike his hair.

Pushing my cart through Target felt surreal. The two women whining about the ash on their patios were unbearable, almost as bad as the Halloween toy that was malfunctioning somewhere in the store, uttering a piercing scream that ended in a strangled yelp, over and over and over. We are still getting reports of friends who have been displaced, who don't know if they have patios anymore. And apparently, my mother-in-law has been fielding a large number of calls wondering about us. Our phone line and voicemail appear to be malfunctioning, which I only discovered last night.

I fled Target before I said something I'd regret. I want this to be over. I want the smoke to abate. I want everyone to be able to go home and find they have a home.

If I could wave my magic wand...

When I got back to the parking lot, my dark blue car was completely covered in fine white ash. It scattered back into the sky as I drove away.

Go listen to some good music: "This Unrest" from the album Tinderbox by Siouxsie and the Banshees.

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