I had to sign for a registered letter today and was chatting with the mail carrier, around three o'clock this afternoon, and commented happily on the little piece of blue sky visible over the buildings across the street.
"Nice to see blue sky, especially when it could get covered up soon by the smoke," he said.
Smoke? Is there a fire?
"Yeah, just up Dufferin a couple of blocks. There's like, five fire trucks and they've got the road blocked off."
When he left, I phoned my colleague K in a panic. I live just up Dufferin a couple of blocks. My Roma neighbours upstairs are hateful and stupid and inconsiderate, and it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if they either deliberately did something destructive, or they left the door open, as they're wont to do, and the insane lady who urinates in the alleyway a few doors north finally went around the twist and decided to keep warm by lighting a fire in my front hallway. Either way, I couldn't spend the rest of the afternoon wondering. K was happy to babysit the ground floor while I made a beeline for home.
It was the building a couple doors north of me, and while there were five firetrucks and a bevy of police, it was the sidewalk blocked off, not the road, and no visible signs of fire. Many of my non-Roma neighbours were out on the sidewalk gossiping, and the general consensus was that it was likely the insane lady. She has lately been sleeping in the alley at night, and during the day pushing around a baby carriage with about four dolls in it, draped in ratty old afghans and hung with plastic bags, and she is at perpetual war with the guy who owns the laundromat. So, yeah.
Unexpectedly grateful, more so than usual, that I have a place to call home. Somewhere that I can be where I am surrounded by things that I love, where I can invite people I love to visit. Somewhere with a comfortable bed and a fridge full of food, heat, light, wine, knitting, a phone that I'll talk to my kids on after dinner, and a television I'm going to be yelling at when the election results start coming in when pundits say stupid things. Donated to the Red Cross again, thinking about those on the east coast who don't have what I do today.