It has been six months since we arrived in California from Italy. It could have been 6 years, 6 weeks, who knows. One day seems so much like the next during lock down. I sit at my window and bark at cars and people going by. I run and jump at the fence in the yard when the guy with the truck revs his engine for minutes on end (air quality permitting of course). And I lay in the cool grass. Oh, life seems ideal I think. But wait, it wasn't ideal 16 days ago when the evacuation order came in. We thought we were safe here in our neighborhood. Well, Mom thought it, and she had convinced me. But then one morning we got an advisory that we may need to evacuate, and by late afternoon it had become an order to evacuate. We loaded our Mini Cooper with a suitcase of clothes for the humans, my travel bag with food and essentials like my favorite toys, some bed clothes, and a small cooler with a bottle of wine and bread and cheese. Brian had invited us to stay at his house. So, off we went.
By the time I got to the car, I was already anxious. All the running around to get out of the house made me very nervous. I knew something was happening, and I kept hearing the word fire. But I really didn't understand what was going on. I just knew it wasn't good. Now the car. I hate the car. I always shake in the car. So by the time we arrived at Brian's, I was a nervous wreck. And then, enter three little children. I am good with children, but I was so nervous already that all I wanted to do was run away pulling on Mom who still had me on the leash.
This was the first time we had seen Brian and family since we arrived on March 2. And Mom and Dad and I all got hugs from the children. That was wonderful for Mom and Dad; but for me, I was still trying to run away. And so, it was not an ideal encounter with the family. We were all rather anxious not knowing what was happening with our house. Was it safe or was it in flames? So, Mom and Dad realized that it wasn't a good idea to stay at Brian's house. Too much disruption for his family and too much stress for me. Mom got out the computer (they did manage to fit computers in the Mini) and found a hotel about 30 miles away. And off we went again in that damn car.
At the hotel, Mom and Dad cleaned all surfaces with alcohol - boy did the room stink after they were done. Next they stripped the bed and put their things on it. We were lucky, we only had to stay there for one night as the evacuation order was lifted the following morning. But the fire did come so very close. The hill behind the house across the street is blackened. The hills surrounding much of the neighborhood are the same. We were, however among the lucky ones. Our house was safe, and our neighborhood untouched by flames. We owe a lot to the first responders who saved us all. Of course, even though we were back home, life did not return to our Covid normal routine. The air quality was so very bad that I had to stay inside for days on end except to answer the call of nature, of course.
So, my friends, this is my experience of California so far - Covid, fires, and bad air quality. The California dream is dead. Global warming is having a dire impact here. So I ask myself, why am I here? Was leaving Italy a good decision? Well, no one asked my opinion. But I notice Mom, who said she was never moving again, is starting to look at houses outside of California. She is even looking in Canada - just in case the current resident of the White House wins the election. It seems Dad could get citizenship since his Dad was born there. So, as a friend once said, "Whenever we think we have a plan, you can be pretty sure something else is going to happen." Oh, well, such is life I guess. Or at least it is my life.
Well, in the midst of all of the virus and fires, I am still on the campaign trail looking for votes. (Virtually of course with masks and socially distanced.) I am sure I will be a better occupant of the White House than that current guy. At least I still have all of my faculties and that is more than he has. I have been making speeches around the country accompanied by some friends. Last week we were in New York and later this month we will be in Washington, DC. I'll speak at the Kennedy Center, an appropriate venue for my talk, I think.
By the way, I now have over 5,700 followers on twitter. But while my popularity is increasing, I acknowledge that I will eventually have to throw my support to Joe. I am waiting for an invitation to meet with him and discuss my future in his administration. I think I would be a good fit in his cabinet. Or maybe I could be the Italian ambassador. That sounds like an excellent idea to me. I do speak Italian after all. I'll just keep thinking about the position I would most want in the Biden administration so I am ready when the call comes in.
Well, my friends, that's all from the home front in California. Stay safe. Keep wearing those masks and social distancing. We will get through this time of hardship and loss. But I ask myself, what is next? What will the new normal be like? I hope it still involves toys, treats, chicken and cheese. And I hope I still have a house with a yard that is not in danger from fires or social unrest.
From California, the land of blackened hills, brown air, dessert temperatures, and soaring Covid numbers, I say, "Good bye for now, my friends. Until it is safe to meet again."
Your Cuddly Friend, Dino
I am Maree, the voice of Dino - or at least I am the one who does the typing. For more information about me and my life in Italy, you can follow me at theproseccoproject.com.