The Four Seasons

It’s the last day before I leave for Russia. In addition, we’re well into the summer heat, getting to temperatures up to 104 degrees. Even our normally cool house has been a sweatbox, and the frequent power outages make running the AC a dicey proposition. We spent much of today running a few last errands, doing some birthday shopping for Jodi, and getting out of the house.

We drove down to Mountain View, to pick up a paper journal so I can keep a record of my trip to Russia. While walking down Castro St., away from the public parking garage, we observed people coming out of shops and looking up into the air behind us. Since there was a street festival, we didn’t think much of it. But when it persisted, we turned around and saw a huge plume of black smoke rising from the block behind us. We started back along the sidewalk, as a chef from a restaurant up the walk ran past yelling “Where is the fire department!? My friend works in a restaurant up there!”

We got back far enough that we could see the fire: a Thai restaurant on the corner of the block where we’d parked the car was engulfed in flame, its outdoor eating patio all ablaze. Fire trucks were pulling up, police we driving people back from the smoke, and so we found ourselves worried about the people in the restaurant, standing in the hot sun.

We eventually got our car and headed home. But on the way home, we were diverted once more in Los Altos because of police and fire trucks! And then, after stopping for dinner, we almost got diverted again in Redwood City as an ambulance and fire truck pulled up to a private residence.

It’s not summer, it’s fire season.

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