Take a deep breath: You will notice a certain burnt flavor to the air, because it is full of ashes … from brush, from houses, from unfortunate pets and wild critters, and from God knows what all. When the devil wind blows in the autumn, it doesn’t take much to turn Malibu into a charnel house. It’s not so much the trees that burn as the underlying brush, which thereupon sends up flaming embers that land on roofs hundreds of feet away. And when one house goes up in smoke, there’s a good chance that surrounding structures will as well.
All evening, I have been blowing my nose constantly, turning several handkerchiefs into soppy messes. There have been times in the past when this constant sneezing and nose-blowing is the prelude to a nasty cold. I hope that this is not one of those instances. I got my flu shot six days ago, and I am not sure it is protecting me just yet.
I often wonder why people want to live in Malibu. There is only one real highway in and out, with a couple of mountain routes that connect California Route 1 to the San Fernando and Conejo Valleys. There is something to be said for a nice ocean view, but the people who could afford to live there get pretty blasé about the view after a few weeks. And there is a near certainty of destruction by fire or flood over a period of several decades. I suppose it is one of the things people do “because they can.” Regardless how stupid it is in the long run.