Friday, November 14, 2008

Marie Antoinette or Madame Defarge

You be the judge, but I think I more resemble the latter than the former. All I lack is a wine shop and some yarn. I have my knitting needles and have always thought of myself as a character out of a Dickens tale, like A Tale of Two Cities. And what could be more appropriate in this time of enormous contrast between the rich and privileged, and the very poor. All we lack is a gilliotine, and I'm starting to think it's time to bring it back. I'm ready to see some heads roll and I've been making a list. All I need is a front row seat. And yet, I have been given this lovely award--a portrait of Marie Antoinette to hang upon my wall. Hummm. How very revolutionary. Well Marie hold on to your head I'm about to pass you around. So instead of Chimpy's head I'll give Maries to the writers who have shared their own struggles against the Machine that is wealth and greed and gluttony unchecked.

From my lovely friend Liquid Illusion who sends me hilarious email when I'm sobbing and makes me laugh in spite of myself. Miss Liquid is so slippery she can't be categorized. She too may be a little Marie Antoinette and a little Madame Defagre

So to Dcup, who has written very movingly about the hardships of the "Housing Bubble" and "The economic downturn," and the "Credit Crunch" at about the same time John McCain was saying "The Fundamentals of the Economy are Sound"

And to Diva for just about the same reasons. Just as the "downturn" began her Big Soulless Travel Agency laid her off, and in the worst economic climate in my memory she took wings and began her own business. That takes real courage. We are survivors. Would we be this old if we weren't?

And to Freida Bee, for too many reasons to enumerate here, but mainly the poetry in her soul as she contemplates, motherhood, possible bisexuality, mathematics, and whether tis nobler to douche or not to douche. These are the questions.

To Susan she of the gorgeous raven avatar, from whose beak issue forth the most intelligent and thoughtful comments of anyone. Really. I'm quite emphatic about that. She is also an incredible artist and story teller. Go see her. You'll never be the same again. Now all I want to do is go on a cross-continental train trip fifty years ago.

To Non, Je Ne Regrettes Rien because she held her breath and leapt free of this sinking ship at just the right moment and now actually owns her own piece of the French Pie and I'm not talking Quiche

And to Dr. Zaius who just explained the flat tax crap to all of us today and who will probably get the Pulitzer for his groundbreaking work in Economics.

Fire In Paradise

I awoke this morning to news that Montecito is on fire. (The link is in the title.) If Montecito is on fire and the Santa Annas are blowing, it will quickly engulf the canyons and move with lightening speed up the coast into Santa Barbara.

First Love/Last Love (Tom) and I were living in his house at the top of West Camino Cielo in 1990 when the Painted Cave Fire struck. I had been working all day at Robinson's in La Cumbra Mall on upper State Street, a few blocks from San Marcos Pass Road, (highway 154), but had a tennis lesson after work at the tennis courts by Hendreys beach. While on the court, I noticed smoke off in the distance toward the foothills. I immediately cancelled the rest of my lesson and raced for my car. When I got to the base of San Marcos Pass Road, the Highway Patrol had blockaded the highway and would not let me pass. All they would say was there was a fire at Painted Cave on East Camino Cielo (we lived on West Camino Cielo). I told one of the patrolmen I needed to get home to rescue the cat. I didn't mention Tom--I figured he'd rescue himself--but I was worried. The Highway Patrolman told me I could drive up the coast and try the back way in. Which meant taking 101 to Gaviota, then Las Cruces toward the cutback to highway 246 to Santa Ynez, which intersected with highway 154 and was the back way to San Marcos Pass. Another blockade and another Patrolman who refused to let me pass even though I could prove I lived there. He told me the residents living on the roads off the Pass had been evacuated. I turned around and retraced my route back to Santa Barbara. By the time I got back, the fire had come roaring down the canyons and crossed the eight lanes of the coast highway and was burning parts of Hope Ranch which is where Tom's ex-wife and children lived.

The fire moved fast in the Santa Anna Winds, roaring down the canyon, but no one ever thought a fire would cross eight lanes of freeway. I was there just after the fire crossed the freeway heading into town and all of us came to a screeching skidding halt. Cars started backing up and trying to turn. It was chaos. I finally managed to turn and drive back into Golita to find a Motel for the night. I got the last room available. I was there a week. Tom was in Los Olivos. It took us two days to locate each other(this was the world before everyone had a cell phone). He came and stayed with me until we could go back up the canyon to see the damage. Dave the cat was fine.

His ex-wife's house didn't burn, and neither did his house up the mountain. But the trip from home to work and back was a grim, moonscape of ash. There was not a tree, or bush or bit of grass that had survived the fire as it raged down the canyon. It was an arson lit fire. It was the beginning of the end for us as a couple. But that had nothing to do with the fire. Merely the scorched earth that was our relationship.

For Us, Because We're Almost Blue

The New Political Maps of the United States