Our recent fire (still ongoing - 71% containment) brought flames, destruction, ash and smoke and it cost two men their lives. But the other thing that came with it was a collective bad mood.
And not just in our little foothill communities directly threatened... the whole city seemed pissed off. Maybe it was just the August heat. Or the collective worry. Or the smoke cloud that hung over the city. Usually, you hear of tough situations bringing out the best in people... but not all the people.
I had two total strangers curse at me for what seemed like a minor transgression on my part. It was bad enough to be a virtual "shut in," not venturing out because of the heat, smoke, ash, flames and the fear of not being able to get back to my house... but when I did go out into the world, I was treated so poorly, I was glad to get back home!
The first was Mabel's fault. After the fire above the creek, I stopped to check on Uncle Bill and Ivy. They are both elderly and couldn't hear me knocking but I could hear them in the kitchen, so I went to the back door. Mabel was in the car, windows 3/4 down. I chatted with Uncle Bill for maybe all of two minutes and headed down their driveway when I was aware of a large black dog...and she's chasing something...THAT'S MABEL!!! AND SHE'S AFTER A CAT!
I gave chase to the end of the driveway and knew I was no match for Skinny Long-Legs, so I jumped in the car and drove about six houses away where Mabel and the cat were having a standoff. I stopped my car blocking someone's driveway and raced over. Within a few steps, I realized I didn't see a water hose in that front yard and I would never get Mabel off that cat without ...something. All the while, I'm screaming bloody murder. "HELP ME!!! SOMEBODY HELP!!!"
I dash to the car for Mabel's leash and see a man standing in his front window across the street...staring. I point at him. "COME HELP ME!" I get the leash and a man and woman emerge from the house where Mabel is hovering over this poor cat, trying to find a place to bite. I tell them to please get water and spray the dog. The woman did just as I landed a blow with the leash. The shock of both sent Mabel scurrying.
I gave chase again and caught her two houses away. In my panic, I couldn't figure out how my leash worked so I wrapped it around Mabel's head about three times and walked her to the car. The man and woman were on their knees talking to the cat, who was on his back and in shock...frozen in a fear pose.
As I put Mabel in the car, I realized the windows were still down and Mabel would / could just hop right out again and that my lights were on. I've always had battery issues with this car, so I wanted to turn them off and make sure Princess Jackass didn't jump out again. I opened the driver's door and the man got up and ran into the street toward me.
"Where the fuck do you think you're going?"
"I'm not going anywhere sir..."
"YES YOU ARE...GET THE FUCK OVER HERE."
"WOULD YOU JUST CHILL? I'M TRYING NOT TO ADD TO THE SITUATION! MY DOG CAN GET OUT OF THE CAR!"
As soon as he realized I really wasn't leaving, he calmed down but I was still pissed... Why speak to total stranger that way?
By now, the stray kitty is sitting up staring at the three of us but as we start to check his injuries, he ran and hid in the shrub. Another neighbor joined us and the four of us spent a good ten minutes cooing into the bushes, "Here Kitty. We want to help you Kitty. It's OK Kitty."
The cat was fine and thanks to all the calm, sweet noises, the tempers were all calmed as well. We apologized and went on with our evening.
The very next day, I went to Costco....HUGE mistake before a holiday weekend. If there's one thing Creekhiker doesn't do...it's shop with millions of sheeple! I shop when it's not crowded or not at all!
As I circled the parking lot, I decided to buy gas and go home. As I turned onto the main thoroughfare leading from Burbank Blvd. to the front of the store, there were two
We inched along and I realized there were now five cars behind me, all of us waiting for these two bozos to realize they are in the middle of the street. I put a big smile on my face and gave the most gentle toot my car horn gives, hoping they would look and I could plead with my eyes... but no, they both turned around and regaled me numerous "FUCK YOUs" and "FUCK YOU BITCH" all while waving me on with their middle fingers.
I'm always sort of amazed at a man that treats a totally strange woman that way... Is that the way they talk to their girlfriends and wives? Seriously, I've dumped guys that behave that way! If you think it's fine to behave that way around a stranger, how will you treat someone you are totally comfortable with?
But as the fires receded back into the forest, cooler temperatures and clean air seemed to send flaring tempers elsewhere.