Down In Smoke SF
Michael Steinberg Black Rain Press
It was Friday, November 16, the 2nd consecutive day San Francisco was included in the zone certified as the worst air on earth.
Common sense abandoned I ventured out to see what the Camp Fire smoke was causing hereabouts. All the authorities were saying we should stay inside, close all doors and windows, hold out breathes, and be good girls and boys until further notice.
On the sidewalks outside my home it was a hi tech ghost town haunted only by a few apparitions left behind in the rush to get the hell out of this oxygen starved urban apocalypse.
A few blocks away in the Panhandle, the narrow rectangular portion of Golden Gate Park, the usual collection of bicyclists, strollers, skaters and dog walkers and hangers-on were conspicuously AWOL. Only the usual carbon monoxide emitting racers tried to assure us that Happy Hour was hovering somewhere in the haze.
Masked But Far From Anonymous
Another couple blocks took me into the Haight Asbury district, where some intrepid souls wondered about during this new strange trip, as often as not masked but hardly anonymous. In fact face maskers, until very recently outlawed as antifa provacateurs,have over the past week become reinvented as activists in particulate protection.
Couples promenaded arm in arm in matching masks, and even street people sprawled in the usual spots were making the latest nasal fashion statement. Further into the heart of the Haight musicians belted out a bleary version of "Smoke on the Water" as spare changers displayed hastily scrawled signs proclaiming "Money For Masks."
Above it all Buena Vista Park's vistas were no longer buena, and the visibility of SF's sevens mystic hills, immortalized by Jack Kerouac in On the Road, were out of sight as well.
One positive note: recent highrise monstrosities like the Salesforce tower were similarly disappeared.
Want to escape to Alcatraz or by hopping a cable car to climb halfway though the haze? Too late, they've been smoked out too.