By: Jen Kirkman

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I Am Not On Fire

Dear East Coast,

I am fine. I am not in the fires in California. I think it's very nice of you, my friends and family, to email me and check in to see if I am safe or if I'm burning up like a dried leaf. I do want to point out, and I hope this doesn ‘t sound too critical, but for my friends and family who have visited my apartment in West Hollywood, California, do you remember a forest in my neighborhood? There isn't one. There is a Starbucks and an Urban Outfitters in my neck of the woods (shout out to Al Roker!) and although I imagine paper holiday coffee cups and extra long scarves are quite flammable – I think should those buildings go up in smoke it would be relatively contained.

I don ‘t mean to make fun of you. I know when the news reports that “California Wildfires are raging,” the natural assumption is that my cement front stoop is on fire. (Which, it could be. My neighbor tosses her cigarette butts on the third step.) But a quick Google search will let you know that the fires are raging in some Santa Barbara counties as well as Orange County. I am many, many, many miles and several highways away from these areas. I'm also about $10 million short of being able to afford living in these areas as well.

Do I ask you folks in Massachusetts if you got caught in the crossfire at Lexington and Concord? What, that was 1776-ish? Oh, I didn ‘t know. I heard something went down in Massachusetts and I just assumed that you were directly involved.

I'm flattered that when you think “house” with “acres of land” near where Oprah Winfrey has a mansion that you think of me. I suppose it would be rude to not ask me if I'm okay. But if I was on fire – I'm probably not at home responding to emails.

I will say this. I have been affected by the fires. It is very hot in Los Angeles right now but it's not the normal hot that summer or Global Warming brings. I went to Kmart today. Let me tell you, it's freaky to be terribly hot while you watch animated reindeer covered in Christmas lights nodding their heads to “The Little Drummer Boy.” It feels like I'm in an episode of Amazing Stories (remember that show?) I feel like I'm the only one who notices the Apocalypse and everyone else is acting like its normal for an animatronic reindeer to be moving around under a pink sky and oppressive heat.

I do think the air quality is challenged and while it's not bad enough to activate my asthma it is bad enough to make me cranky. I treated myself to a pedicure today and I had no patience for the up selling-in-broken-English that pervaded my relaxing afternoon. “You want deluxe?” No, I don ‘t. I'm ticklish. I want to get out of here. “You want neck massage?” No. I don ‘t want a neck massage. I'm trying to read Bill Clinton's book, Giving. I don ‘t want to be touched. I want to read about the culture of giving globally and I reserve the right to be distant and rude while doing it. Los Angeles (County) is burning and I'm cranky, damn it.

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