I don’t understand the mind of an arsonist. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I can understand some arsonists. I can understand someone who is so broke from the economic recession that he burns down his home in order to collect an insurance payment. I can understand someone who murdered her boyfriend and burns down his home to destroy the evidence. I can even understand teenage pyromaniacs (who are kind of like arsonists) who blow up stuff with illegal fireworks from Mexico because setting shit on fire is kind of cool sometimes, even if they are mailboxes or G.I. Joe action figures. I can understand all of these actions because they all have some sort of legitimate motive involved. Additionally, they are all, for the most part, victimless crimes (except for maybe the murderer who was cremating her deadbeat boyfriend). However, I can’t come to terms with why anyone would want to start a wildfire. Do these people have personal vendettas against shrubbery? Or perhaps they have deep-rooted psychological issues against hillsides? I don’t comprehend why anyone would want to set fire on a mountain, even if they were a Grateful Dead fan.
There is a distinct stench in the air this week, and it’s not just because I live in the San Fernando Valley, which has historically been considered the armpit of Los Angeles proper. Over the past week no less than three wildfires have ignited in the hillsides surrounding the Valley. High winds and dry air have been fueling the raging infernos as they blaze through the nearby neighborhoods, and the enormity of these fires has created a layer of yellow-brown smoke hovering over the entire Valley. The fact that the Valley is turning into the Biblical hell makes the situation uncomfortable for everyone. Everyone has noticed that there is a sense of instability and haziness in the air, and I have, too, but for different reasons.
This week marked the three-year anniversary of when the girl I was in love with torched me and kicked me out of her life. Sarah made like Sarah Palin and sent my ass onto the bridge to nowhere. In an overly dramatic late-night telephone conversation, Sarah made like the Ting Tings and said, “Shut Up and Let Me Go,” and I made like Queen in Under Pressure and cried, “Why can’t we give love one more chance?” and then she made like My Chemical Romance and retorted, “I Don’t Love You.” And then she pretended like she was the AT&T 3G network and terminated the call. That day was the last time I talked to her, and this year that exact day fell on my day off from work. But, I didn’t spend that day brooding and weeping about the day that love failed me (which is what I did the past two years). In fact, I didn’t do anything. The most remarkable thing I did on that day was eat a giant shrimp burrito from Poquito Mas in Burbank, and that burrito was fucking delicious. Three years ago nothing was fucking delicious.
There used to be a time when everything in the Valley reminded me of Sarah, and I’m sure that everything still kind of does. The fact that we both live in the Valley probably warrants this type of reaction, and I suppose I’ve become desensitized to it. I don’t know what it means to “get over” someone, and I’m not sure if completely “getting over” someone is truly possible. Have you ever fallen in love? I suspect that you have, and I also suspect that, other than your burning loins, your emotions were blazing like a raging inferno. You can either control that fire with water or just let it blaze until it incinerates everything in its path and finally dies out. I suppose I’ve waited for it to burn out, and I suppose I’ve burned every bridge along the way as I let that happen. But every now and then, a flare up will inexplicably occur and make life transiently unbearable. Being uncontrollably in love is like being a mindless arsonist: I don’t understand either of them. Maybe love is about letting things burn. What the hell do I know? I’m not Usher.
God damn that burrito was fucking delicious. I want a little more.