Wednesday, October 24, 2007

blows hard

The Santa Ana winds make for an eerie October. At this time of year, I am used to winds with cool weather and falling leaves. But Santa Ana winds are incredibly dry, dusty, hot and, now, filled with soot and ash. They suck the moisture out of everything and have pushed temperatures into the upper 90s all week. There is a thin layer of grit everywhere in the house; there is ash in the air; and everyone is sick from the smoke and from breathing this dry, dry air.

Last weekend, weather reports foretold of the winds and the tinderbox they would whip up. And, lo, with the first gusts Sunday morning came news of canyon fires. In fact, all day on Sunday, every local news source delivered blow-by-blow accounts of the Malibu fire to the exclusion of all else. Over the course of the day I came to despise the media. Admittedly, it was awful that residents were evacuated and some even lost their homes. But the sympathy the media tried to extract for these "refugees" was obscene. It didn't work. These people aren't me; I can't identify. They live in multi-million dollar trophy homes that they decided to build out in some ocean-front canyon so they could live far, far from the rest of us. Reporters failed to mention these people wouldn't seek refuge in a public school gym, a church or the YMCA because they could flee to another multi-million dollar trophy home and arrange for their multi-million dollar insurance payout.

Malibu was the only fire any of us could get information on until Monday evening - when we discovered that a quarter of a million people had been evacuated from San Diego and there was a 13,000 acre fire 12 miles away! (This explains the thick smoke and ash hanging in the air all day.) Like everyone else in the region, we got ready to evacuate. Now that most of the danger has passed and reporters have discovered more worthy stories, I'm still annoyed. What faith I had is utterly destroyed. They're such pets of the wealthy.


kungfuramone said... still had some faith left before? That doesn't sound like you...

Rachel said...

agreed about the wealthy Malibu homeowners. I had almost no sympathy for the coverage until I realized there were fires in other places than Malibu (since that's all that's in the headlines - Sean Penn's house or something). One story was about a Dreamworks executive who had his own private firefighting force save his house. A little different than poor inner-city black people. I like how everyone's mobilized so quickly and efficiently this time. At least having rich people threatened means that the poor people will maybe get more help than they otherwise would have.

Dolce Vita said...

Well, KFR, I discovered that my favorite media - NPR - is just as much a pet as the others. I'm trying to decide if this is systemic (probably) or a result of living in SoCal, where everyone seems to think fawning over the wealthy or well-known is normal and acceptable behavior.