A couple months ago I was playing poker in Vegas when the fire alarm went off. The siren was a deafening wail and the strobe lights were at a quick enough pace to cause an epileptic seizure. But no one got up from the table. Not the players, not the dealer. I found that to be a ridiculous moment, but now the city I call home is surrounded by smoke and ash and a giant inferno and we all went about our daily lives. Angeles Forest has twenty square miles of nature going down in flames (an area the size of Los Angeles). Shouldn’t we all be headed down there lining up with buckets of water to put this sucker out? That’s what they do in the movies anyway. When Rome burned, didn’t Nero at least pick up a fiddle?
Growing up in Miami when a hurricane was on its way, the town stopped. Supermarkets were filled with people stocking up on rations, people boarded up their windows, and mapped out evacuation sites. In Los Angeles when disaster strikes people are too self-involved to change their daily routine.
“Oh, that mountain over there’s on fire.”
“That sucks. Where do you want to go out to eat?”