Andrew Rafner is a recently liberated fan and writer from Los Angeles. He owns two Sasha Vujacic jerseys and isn’t sorry about it.
Most people think of Southern California and imagine postcard views of palm trees and sun-soaked beaches and bikini-clad models with hair bobbed from rays of sunlight, but if you live here — actually, if you’re from here — you know that Southern California, and specifically Los Angeles, is ensconced by a thick rim of gnarled and thorny brush known as chaparral. It’s everywhere.
Now, one notable thing about the chaparral is the fact that it burns. Hot, fast and wild. I’m sure you’ve turned on the news in late-September or early-October (or if it’s this year, mid-April) and seen them talking about an out-of-control wildfire burning somewhere in Southern California. That’s the chaparral. Either by some combination of a random lightning strike or a hot, dry California summer, one of these fires breaks out, schools get cancelled and — I’m only speaking from personal experience here — you climb on your wood-shingled roof with your stepdad to hose it down so burning embers raining from the sky don’t ignite your house as towering flames peek over from the mountains a couple miles away. It’s the rites of the season. No. Big. Deal.
What people often lose sight of in the human drama of California Wildfire Season is that the burning of the chaparral is a part of how the ecosystem proliferates itself. Over the span of 15 or so years, brush grows lush and deep, fires spark, the plants burn and within that chaos and destruction, new life begins. Seeds find purchase within the newly transformed and charred land and the process begins again. Every. F—ing. Year. It’s just kind of part of the bargain we pay for 75 and sunny and Amoeba Music 363 days a year.
Right now, in this very moment, another staple of the Southern California way of life is undergoing a chaotic wildfire. Yeah, the Lakers. (UGH. I know, right?) Now, we all know the major beats of this story to this point — Dwight Howard is going to become a Houston Rocket and in doing so, he has upended one of the great givens in professional basketball and probably sports in general: the Lakers don’t lose out on big talent.
But they did. It happened. Get with it. And to be completely honest, didn’t we all kind of know it was going to happen? Hasn’t all the writing been on all the walls since he got to Los Angeles? Since before he even arrived in Los Angeles?
Read the rest of this entry »