I drove toward the Burbank airport today (as today was the end of a trip to Ventura for work). After our team’s luncheon yesterday the wind had become wicked. It whipped us and flew about us – taunting the sunshine into giving up its warmth.
Today pieces of Ventura are on fire.
Yes, I drove toward the Burbank airport today.
The traffic coming toward me was highlighted in red on the Waze map. My direction was purple. The red lane drivers had a massive cloud of dark smoke chasing them. It seemed to be large and threatening to those of us heading into it in the purple lane. The red lane seemed so happy to be escaping it or possibly they were totally oblivious of its presence behind them. In contrast, we purple lane people seemingly accepted the inevitable as we rolled into the fray.
Indeed, I drove toward the Burbank airport today.
The ventilation in the car was set to allow outside air into the passenger area. This was obviously reset. The cloud of smoke held a huge mitten over the road ahead. A new primary objective for me, the driver, was keeping particulates out. This became my priority as the intrepid Toyota rental car fearlessly approached the massive grey creature.
Upon arrival the face mask that somehow lived in my roll-on suitcase decided it was a good idea to become a piece of apparel before I left the Toyota rental car at the Burbank rental car return. I felt the precision of the timing of arriving, returning and arriving was incredibly crucial in order to avoid the smoke’s imminent presence. This thought was not comforting to me.
The people walking toward me outside of the airport seemed truly unaware of the looming smoke’s approach.
They were checking their phone, walking, talking, laughing and never once did they look back at the cloud. The view from their direction was pleasant. The view from my direction was worrisome at best.
I asked the policeperson after TSA how the smoke might affect the flights. She assured me the pilots would never take off if there was danger. “The pilots really like to live.” She also said the winds change and the smoke goes in various directions quickly. Her reasonable, calm responses seemed to lessen the tensions I felt were needed - and yet-
How could the “airportians” have such a different interpretation of being at the same place and time?
This question lingers past embarking on the plane and jettisoning myself, and a few hundred others, eastward toward Texas. There is a persistent echo of this thought that enters the places in-between this and that.
What other events do I see that others cannot fathom?
What events do others survive that never touched me?
In what direction do I move? Toward or away?