At times, when we were cobbling together our Internet and trying to file a story from the front seat of the Newsmobile while sirens wailed and air tankers roared in to deploy a pretty pink swath of Phos-Chek – we were tempted to say in our best radio baritone: “This… is Lamorinda.”
Edward R. might actually have forgiven us for making off with his signature radio intro over the weekend, we were trying to keep our communications short and get out as much info as conditions allowed, something he would have understood.
It certainly wasn’t London during The Blitz, but it was sporty for an area known for the amenities it offers and its rather sedate quality of life. For a while, we were confined to issuing short Twitter blasts, which we are reviewing in hindsight for their comic effect, but which was our only avenue for getting news out while Bad Things Were Happening. During it all, bailing out of The News Bunker to go mobile, we saw some people react with kindness and courtesy while others began to revert to that dark side of humanity those National Geographic prepping shows always warn you about.
We feel that Mr. Murrow’s London blitz sirens should be wailing behind us today, sounding the all clear, as residents of the 24/680 once again venture to the local market, tour the fire-blackened hectares of Lafayette and Martinez that put so much smoke in the air and us in face masks, and try to find a place in the garage for that brand new generator they bought over the weekend.
The Worst, blessedly, is past for now. What the future holds remains to be seen. We celebrated with a hot shower this morning (we know, TMI – but there it is) and cleaned the camp stove and solar panels which served us so well.
Thumbs up to the two guys in an unmarked, white utility van who jumped out to hold up what very well could have been an energized utility line so that traffic could pass on Pleasant Hill Road Sunday – we’re not sure we would have done that, brothers, but perhaps you knew more than you were letting on. Thumbs up to the very kind Pleasant Hill couple who – with power and Internet blazing – took us in so we could file a report about the Lafayette Tennis Club burning a short distance away, the irony of the moment strong with VLATs (Very Large Air Tankers) making low-level drops across the border in Lafayette while the 49ers destroyed a team whose name we can’t remember on a big-screen TV.
Thumbs up to the Walnut Creek man who, watching us trying to juggle our laptop and angling our car while we searched for an Internet signal, saw our news cap and returned with a glass of water. BIG Thumbs Up to all the people who tried to message our darkened headquarters with, in many cases, some stunning pictures and latest updates. Reading them hours later and posting a few of your pictures was bittersweet as we pretty much live to cover The Now.
Thumbs Down? Tougher. We lean to the forgiving side of things. But to the folks blessed to have power and Internet in local coffeehouses and who steadfastly refused to share tables/outlets – well, may the next VLAT flatten your house with a well-aimed load of Phos-Chek. And maybe to the people who disseminated often contradictory info about outage zones, times, number of folks affected – better luck next time. If you’re granted a next time.
One thing we have learned over our many years of exposure to The Human Animal is that he/she has a very, very short memory. We tend to forget lessons learned during trying times and, as the lights come back on and our laundry begins to spin again, we sink into the easily reassured routines of coffee runs and cold milk in the dairy case. We wonder who will remember the Power Outages and Fires of 2019 in six months – and would bet no one will remember in six years.
And that would be a shame. But for now, it’s all clear.
Note: We are being informed that some small pockets of the 24/680 remain without power. Could you reply in the comments section below with your general geographic location so that we might map you? Hang in.