Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wildfire Season is Upon Us

The Santa Anas are blowing, the fires are growing, and I'm trying to remember that I'm a grown up now. Ever since I was a kid the fall wildfires here have terrified me, the apocalyptic coverage in media and the red glow on the horizon were enough to convince me that I would burn up the next time I heard a firetruck blare its siren. Good thing I don't live in one of the outlying subdivisions that put themselves in harm's way.
My neighborhood got a kick in the face last week when someone or several people doused a homeless man in gasoline and set him on fire. This man, who Bobby and I had seen several times since we moved to K-Town, had been living on his corner for about ten years. What lurks behind the busy fa├žades of the apartment buildings in my neighborhood? What is happening that would cause this horrible act? Figuratively this incident shows the deadliness of cars (the assailants drove up and got away in a car, plus there's the gasoline factor) and the forbidden nature of our streets. Use the street, risk death, the murderers proclaim.
I am so sorry that this individual inspires more emotion in me now that he is dead than when he was alive. I did not give him anything when we walked by, all I did was mentally note his huge, swollen, bare, dirty feet, and wonder why he didn't have shoes on. I also remarked on his smell. The inhumanity of this crime inspires guilt in all those who come upon it, and that's why I'm writing out this inventory of my own thoughts.