...in a single word: terrible.
Everyone has probably heard about the fires that are devastating Southern California. None are anywhere close to me, and yet smoke and ash from the local fires have filled the sky, making breathing difficult. That's what winds blowing from the north can do when you live essentially south of the burning areas.
Hundreds of homes have been destroyed; more will be. None of the three (or four) fires in this region are close to being controlled, and all are in heavily built-up areas.
There was also a small fire roughly four miles from here, in an area ripe to go up in smoke. That one was put down quickly and did no damage.
PARENTHETICAL DODGING-A-BULLET THOUGHT: Two homes ago, I lived in what now may be the path of one of today's fires. I didn't like the area, and worried about brush fires throughout the two years I lived there....
The smoke made a pretty picture out on the ocean, as if that's any consolation...
And what did I, who should have been over at the old place boxing up -- and throwing out -- my crap, do today?
Strangely enough, as reports of burned-out homes, apartment buildings and house trailers came in, I found myself imagining, wistfully, that my former building had been in the line of one of the fires. Yeah, there are things I would miss...briefly. Some toys that have much sentimental (and a fair amount of monetary) value; copies of much of my published work during that past 22-plus years; some irreplaceable phonograph records...and if they were consumed by flames, I might force myself to shed a tear. Maybe two.
A change has come over me in the time -- less than a week -- that I've occupied my new digs. I have divorced myself from almost seven years of living in a fairly spacious pad, and have adjusted to my tiny cubicle.
In fact I've adjusted too quickly, in the way my cat Hobbes adjusted almost instantly from having outdoor access and a big yard to play in to being confined indoors when I moved into the previous place. I simply don't feel like going back over to finish up the clean-up and removal process. It's a part of my life that is now over.
Am I what is sometimes called "an institutional man?" Would I rather be confined? Or am I simply adjusting to a new -- and not entirely awful -- reality in which everything vital to me is enclosed in a 300 square-foot space?
Maybe tomorrow I can get back to what I need to do. I'd better.
Tonight, I will simply vegetate, sitting in my small rectangle and occasionally going out to see which way the smoke is blowing.
People with major catastrophes to deal with are, I fervently hope, being helped tonight.
I, with only a small catastrophe affecting my world, will just have to muddle through. Alone, as usual.
22 hours ago