I love fog. I’ve got fog, but I don’t love this fog. This fog is the devil spawn of fire. Smoke, shoved west from its forest home by flames a-billion, then back east by a shift in pressure and wind.
Now it’s ours to enjoy, and not so much the folks to our west. It’s rated hazardous, on the scale of deep breath-to-stop breathing.
North to south, our state is ablaze. Nearly a half-million people have evacuated their homes. They have gone … somewhere. God knows where, but I don’t. They might be at Safeway.
We live just north of Mt. Hood, the blessed 11,000-foot barrier between our county and the burning county to the south. Maybe that county’s residents fled here. It seemed, if that was the case, that they had first decided to stock up in the middle of our Covid-19 pandemic at Safeway.
Mid-day on a September Friday in which nobody was going anywhere for fun, for lolling by a lake, for sipping a beer and dipping one’s toes in chill water, for grilling mashed pork in the skins of mashed pork, I’m standing six deep in a line to buy eight items.
I would love to go camping, but who wants to do that when the smoke is beyond healthy, even for my dog. Satchel tired out earlier than his usual point of fatigue when I took him up into the gloom to chase his sticks and takes his drinks in Indian Creek. (Sorry, that’s its name; no offense intended.)
So we hunker down further, again, more, after months of hunkering from Covid-19. Now we open our doors, and we can see the attacker. We peer out at the smoke lowering like the invasive gloom of a John Carpenter movie (“The Fog”. If Adrienne Barbeau emerges, I’m fine), and wonder if we should inhale, or hold our breaths until all this abates.
Or pack our cars with essentials and legal documents before we flee for our lives.
All that notwithstanding, my wife is off to one of her opportunities to cook. She will endure untold indignities and suffer ridiculous fatigue for the chance to stand before a stove and paint a masterpiece.
She is offering her labors to support a local education foundation. The people for whom she donates time seem to have no clue that it takes a kitchen and utensils and flatware and recycling and trash to make it all happen.
Numerous calls to the winery in charge of provisioning liquid excellence go unreturned. Should my dear show up there to receive their contribution, or not? Eventually, one of their beknighted tribe returns a call.
No, she does not know how many bottles of each wine to assemble for my wife to pick up.
“An email was sent.”
“Sorry, didn’t get it.”
My dear is so restrained. She does NOT say, “Well, talk to the idiot to whom I sent the email and figure it out, because you’ve had a FUCKING WEEK to do that, and I’ll be there in 10 minutes.
No, she says, “thanks for the call.”
At the other end of the line sits the definition of arrogance. If you are paired into an enterprise designed to elevate your brand and share your product, please, do your part. Your wine will not arrive in the glass by divine grace.
No matter, the people who are blessed to view and consume this thoughtfully created meal when it arrives before them will appreciate it mightily. But not nearly enough. If they do, they never say. It is all hay to cattle such as they. The winemaker, for whom a plate was set, fails to show. “Fucking great,” one of the professional drug dealers says as he and his team of profiteers depart.
Fifty or a hundred years from now, the auctioneers at Christie’s will collect bids from people who have heard about this evening, and wish to buy a memory of it.
Millions will change hands.
And my lovely bride will be dead.
But I will be there with her, in the beyond, to smile down on the people who seldom appreciate genius in their own time, because they are too busy celebrating (or trying to get others to celebrate) the geniuses they imagine themselves to be. Opioids will do that to you.