So, as I was driving home on Thursday night I noticed that the hillside near my part of town was on fire.
As I drove down the freeway, carefully rubbernecking with the other motorists, I began to realize the fire was in the hills directly behind our place.
With flames visibly leaping a hundred feet in the air, the sounds of electrical transformers and eucalyptus trees exploding in the distance, and the air chocking with smoke, my mind rapidly filled with a host of anecdotes about people not evacuating when they should.
So after spending a tense hour or so rifling in my piles of junk for my great grandfather's World War One mementos and some family pictures, we loaded the pets in the car and bugged out for a friend's place and then a Motel 6 a town over.
Because our dog was nervous and in a new place he naturally decided to urinate on our hotel room bed... twice.
So that is how, on the second night of the Tea Fire I ended up in the laundromat on the edge of forever.
Except for a few people who wandered in and out, the place was deserted.
The decor could best be described as mid-70s gentrified, one of my favorite decorating styles, I'll admit.
Adding to to the strangeness of the scene was the piped-in local radio station broadcast that interspersed reports about the raging fires in between classic rock tunes.
Of course, the paintings of faceless children...
and psychedelic cityscapes were a bit unsettling too.
Of course, there were some nice recent acquisitions as well. Call them post-rinse cycle surreal.
Some elements were less artistic and more pithy commentary on the decline of American school standards. "My School Suck" indeed.
All in all it was a welcome break, if a little weird, from worrying whether our home had been destroyed by conflagration.
We unlike some, were lucky though, and today were able go back home. Other than the overpowering smell of burnt beef jerky or smoked cheese, everything was fine.
But becuase that smell has permeated all our clothes, I see an ancient laundromat in my near future.