DARK of the DAWN: First let me assure you that San Francisco is not in danger from actual flames. But then again, the fact that the smoke is traveling some distance gives you an idea of how big these fires are. It was very disorienting to wake up later than usual (because I was on VACATION!!) and discover myself in the dark. Elizabeth realized first that something was terribly wrong. For me, it was confusing. Nothing added up. I could not take in that the smoke was so thick that the sun could not penetrate, even at 9am. on Sept. 9 at latitude 37.7749° North. Yes, I had experienced exceptionally dark mornings when I lived in Amsterdam (52.3676° North) in the depths of winter. And that is one of the reasons
I chose to return to what is often referred to as sunny California.
Elizabeth learned that the air was dark orange because the smoke absorbed all the blue color, and that the pollution was actually not that bad because under the smoke was a cozy blanket of fog protecting the Bay Area -- at least the part at sea level. She kept voicing her shock and fear, until I asked her to stop because I simply could not handle the reality we found ourselves in. But it was wonderful to hold hands, which we could do without violating any regulations because we have become a Pod.
Neither of us had any desire to walk on the beach or anywhere else. She drove me and the pups home and headed down the peninsula. Thus ended our quite wonderful vacation.
It was otherworldly. When I got in the house, I went to bed. I think my gigantic efforts at denial exhausted me. It seems, even though I am obsessed with the world's problems and how to solve them, my brain's default setting is "Everything is going to be okay." That is probably beneficial most of the time. But then, if the world IS ending, isn't it more helpful to take in that information, and then figure out what to do about it?
When my friend Tara, who lives across the Bay and safely far from flames, phoned, I asked how she was and she replied, "Well, I saw four horsemen ride by!" Carolyn is much more intimately involved with the catastrophic fires. She lived much of her life in Ashland and has a daughter with a family and many friends who have been evacuated from their homes in Southern Oregon.
Today it is still very orange but far less dark. The air is much more polluted, I guess because the fog is gone. I still cannot get my brain around it all. You see, I made this deal with reality that I would handle the pandemic with great equanimity if reality made it possible for me to take strenuous walks up and down steep hills every day. But reality is not complying with her part of the bargain.
That being said, I must acknowledge always that I am one of the lucky ones. I could at any moment drop from that category into the one below. But so far, everything that has happened to me as an individual is an inconvenience, not a tragedy or even a crisis. Admittedly, I have lost my main reason for being on the planet, which is creating theater. But what's to complain about when so many others not too far away are consumed with the hope that they have a home to go home to?
I felt the need today to dress in bright colors. I know that many have trouble segueing out of their pajamas when they arise. Not me. I am sheltering in place by myself, which means that sometimes the only person I see all day is me, in the mirror. Or the bottom half of my body, when I look down. Something told me that today is the day to put on my clown pants. So red shirt and clown pants it is!
PELOSI UNMASKED:Although I am not known to be a fan of Nancy Pelosi -- quite the contrary -- somehow I can not get unduly upset about her latest escapade of getting
her hair done in violation of the rules.
#1: She was most certainly set up by the salon owner. One should be able to have one's hair done without having video of the occasion end up on Fox News.
#2: Women in politics are immediately ridiculed if they don't look spiffy, and it must be a particular hardship for NP, the most visible woman in politics, to lose one of her spiffing tools.
#3. I just like to see her make a mistake. It makes her seem more human. I am reminded of the time my father lost his wallet when my family was on vacation. I was absolutely thrilled, because both he and my mother always had their lives so perfectly organized.
SUNSET RAMBLE: The Sunset is the neighborhood next to the beach just south of Golden Gate Park. It got its name because the land slopes gradually down to the ocean, so almost every western-facing window has a view of the sunset. Elizabeth and I initially wanted to actually get out of the city for our 2-day trip, but we were faced with walls of flame in every direction except west, which was the ocean. So we ended up in Ocean Park Motel, an art-deco blast from the past.
The hot tub is not available because of pandemic rules. The rooms are small, not fancy but perfectly okay. There's a lawn and a lovely garden, where we had dinner our first night. We walked about 10 blocks, bought a pizza, brought it back. Mark, who owns the place, is the person we dealt with. He's like a real person, rather than a functionary of a business. Dogs are welcome, for a $20/night fee. We brought three, including Paisley, Elizabeth's little pup.
When I made the reservation, I lied and said we just had two dogs, because I was afraid if I told the truth, Mark might refuse us, as in: "Hey, we're pet-friendly, but we're not running a kennel here!" So I decided to introduce him gradually to the fact that we had three dogs. When I told him later about Paisley, he said, "Oh, I'll just charge you for two."
Basically, we spent two days walking on the beach. The beach was very crowded on that hot hot hot Labor Day.
Photo from Google Images
We walked a bit and soon got past the crowds.
Lots of major fort-building going on. The three pups got along very well, with my two and Paisley basically ignoring each other. They were all very well-behaved except .... EXCEPT Nikki, who found a dried up dead bird. Well, Loulou found it too, but she came when I called whereas Nikki refused to come until he had finished crunching up the wing. He actually ran away from me! Three times! Outrageous.
It was a big mistake letting him get on the couch. He's really gotten full of himself since then and is misbehaving much more. He pulls on the leash, has gotten more aggressive with other dogs. I've got to start retraining him, so he knows who's boss.
After our pizza in the garden, we watched the sunset.
The next day was much cooler and much less crowded.
I have to stop now, because they're doing maintenance on this website. So I'll finish the beach trip tomorrow.