How would you like a blitzkrieg dousing your home and property
with chemicals on a regular basis? Well, that’ what’s happening
in Monterey County.
Oh, sure, the ag’ department assures us that pheromones to
confuse the light brown apple moth from mating are not to be
confused with “chemicals” and are harmless. And they have found
a few moths locally. And they could devastate our crops, like
they have in Australia.
But I’ve read every commentary about this aerial spraying (first
time over an urban area) and such questions as these have reared
their ugly heads:
What else is in the mix? (There’s been some cloak and dagger
withholding here.) Is a synthetic pheromone truly harmless? Is
this overkill and can the moths be managed in a far less
invasive way? Heck, I’m willing to hang a hundred traps from
Does anyone in Sacramento care? Hello?
Today I called every agency, including the governor’s office, to
report that I have felt vague flu-like symptoms after each
spraying. So have several of my friends who were all for the
spraying - originally.
Will anyone take heed? Or will they call us hysterical commies?
One critical letter-to-the-editor suggested that this spraying
(by the way, it’s unnerving to have planes buzzing your house at
11 p.m.) may continue monthly for three years.
Is my property value diminishing? Who wants to move into this
I want to see an ad wherein top state and ag’ officials line up
beneath a plane while it mists them with the pheromone. Or would
they all get too horny? Or would it cause them, along with the
moths, mental pause . . . ?
Whole lotta’ Shakin’ Goin’ on
So, feeling crummy, I sit at my computer at 8 p.m. composing an
e-mail. My cats are resting comfortably in a director’s chair,
which is essential as they are my directing muses.
Suddenly, we hear this truck coming through the door. Or is it a
train? Man, it’s loud. Then I notice that Purrsnikitty and
Tabitha’s eyes are unblinking globes and their chair is shaking.
Then I feel, as Carole King sang, the earth move under my feet.
Thank Good that the sky didn’t come tumblin’ down.
I am now aware that it’s an E-E-EARTHQUAKE!!!!!!!!!!
And it’s going on for about 10 seconds so I have time to: stand
up, run around the living room, run to a door, look at the
ceiling forgetting where the safest place is to stand, and
finally running back to the cats to be with them, lest we be
buried apart, totally forgetting that they are up against a huge
expanse of cheap windows.
Just yesterday a friend bemoaned those poor people whose homes
have burned in Southern California and smugly suggested that we
are so lucky to live here where the Santa Ana winds can’t touch
Har-de-har-har-har. My response, “Oh, yeah, just wait till we
have another rumbler. It’s been too quiet on the western front
for the last 18 years.”
I made it happen, I really did. I’m sorry.
But I am quite proud of my mental seismograph. Immediately
following the quake, I called two friends and stated that it was
a magnitude of about 5.6.
Bingo! The news verified it.
Think I have a new career as a divining rod, rumbling psychic,
rock n’ roll predictor . . . ?
Stardust Inspiration: Blinders
OK, now that I’ve grumbled, I’ll leave you with an uplifting
story (and I don’t mean uplifting tectonic plates). Recently,
upon retiring to bed, I am struck with a huge tarantula dangling
down in front of my left eye. It is a floater to beat all
floaters; a jelly fish of the vitreous of the eye which is, in
fact, very much like the moon jelly body. I also see little
flashes of light.
So, I go to bed with these thoughts: I’m having a stroke or I’m
I sleep soundly (har-de-har-har)!
Upon rising, I call the doctor expecting him to say “no worries”
(meaning, “Lighten up, you hypochondriac.”)
Instead, he tells me that sudden onset floaters need to be
immediately checked. I could have a hole in my retina. And that
could cause my retina to tear away.
So this lovely man (he is a gorgeous Brazilian, but young enough
to be my son, and with wife and kids, so I’m safe from making a
fool of myself) breaks away from his family on a Saturday
afternoon to meet me at his hip new office. He’s wearing shorts
and Birkenstocks and I’m at his mercy.
An hour later, blind in one eye and can barely see out of the
other after numbing eye drops, I head home knowing that there
are no holes but to be alert for a few weeks.
So, Spandora (that’s my personal Pandora who torments me) starts
imagining life – sightless. And I can’t envision it. The visual
beauty of nature is my solace, my source, my soul. Plus, how in
the world do you navigate a scary world - sightless?
The next day, I am walking down an ancient Monterey sidewalk
strewn with green and gold leaves as big as frying pans and
along walks a friend of mine, holding the arm of an unsighted
man (He’s carrying a white cane).
She introduces us and I am overcome by his good vibes, so I take
a big chance.
“Jesse, have you always been blind?” I query.
“Not until eight years ago when I had a stroke,” he says, almost
I am stunned and tell him my recent little scare.
“How have you coped?” I ask. “How can you stand it? What do you
At this point he and I fold our fingers over each other’s and I
feel warmth and peace radiate from his whole being. I bask in
his loving divinity.
He smiles, knowingly, and answers: “It has given me many gifts.”
“I have learned to see with my heart.” . . .