Sunday, November 18, 2018

Schnüffelgang - Happy Happy Joy Joy

Whatsa matta yo face?
The Air Quality Index (AQI) in the Berkeley Area shot up to "hazardous" yesterday, so that even with an N95 mask I didn't take the girls out for their Schnüffelgang, their "sniff walk." And boy did I hear about it. They clawed at me and whined. They are girls who live by a strict schedule, and woe betide you when you miss a dinner deadline, or time for a walk. But with my already watering eyes and my sore throat, I didn't want to chance it. So we took several pipipupu breaks throughout the day in the back yard, but no actual walks. And when I put the harnesses on today, they launched into their happy happy joy joy dance, normally reserved for our coming home after an extended stay away.

The San Francisco Bay Area beat a world record for "worst polluted city in the world," I read yesterday. Which was nonsense, actually, since Sacramento was worse, and so was Chico, right next to the fire. I guess some local journalist just decided to take their cue from Trump with his "biggest, best, most the world has ever seen" use of modifiers. But let's not quibble. If you go to  you'll see that the air quality index runs from a "not worth mentioning" category called "good" to "moderate" to "unhealthy for sensitive groups" (asthmatics, babies and geezers) to "unhealthy" (for everybody) to "very unhealthy" to "hazardous." And after yesterday's "hazardous," today's merely "unhealthy for everybody" felt like it was time to go out and dance in the streets. Well, walk the dogs, in any case. And without a mask. What they don't tell you about those damn N95 masks, is they are damned hard to breathe in. And they don't work. You can tell they don't work because your glasses keep getting fogged up, and if air can get out, obviously air can get in.  My spouse suggested maybe I should tape it to my face, but there are limits.

As I was gasping down the street the other day the thought occurred to me that everybody here is oohing and aahing over the fact that "the air here is as bad as in Delhi, India!" Nobody seems to be concerned about just what that means, that the poor folks in Delhi live with this kind of air on an everyday basis!" Can't get my mind around that. It's seriously wretched, and we're all huddled inside with the doors and windows closed. And in Delhi they have this kind of air every day of the year???

We're not praying folk, and I'm far too self-conscious to engage in a dance to bring on the rain, but we're holding out hope that the rain predicted for Wednesday is for real. Man, I'd like to be able to see up and down the block again.

More importantly, I hope it rains in Butte County where the town of Paradise, now reduced to a wasteland, once was. An entire town wiped out. And that was only one fire of who knows how many. I heard 17 at one point. Firefighters, the everyday heroes we live with, flew in from New Zealand and Australia. Hundreds of people still missing.

Tough times. I guess losing the freedom to take a walk outside is pretty piddling compared to what some people have had to endure.

Now to persuade the girls that that's the case.

Photo credit: Photo of man-on-roof is from the Czech website Forum 24. Tried to find it to give credit to the photographer of this dramatic photo but all I get is a "stránka nenalezena" (page not found). Sorry.

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