I managed to get a few things done today. I took the bus to do the banking for the month, and some shopping, and then later I walked down to the K-mart and bought a couple of pairs of the fleecy lounge pants they had on sale. These will be for sleeping in the winter. I stopped at CVS to pickup a six pack of beer, and then didn't drink any since I went to sleep before I had time to fix dinner. That means dinner will turn out to be a midnight supper, probably involving a package of instant noodles. It seems like these days I have more midnight suppers than a Victorian roué— though, of course, I eat them alone.
Though I didn't stop at the Goodwill store today, I ended up getting a book anyway. It was in the mail box when I returned from shopping, and since it is a copy of Jack Kerouac's On the Road, a book I mentioned in a recent LJ entry, I have no doubt it was sent by my perennial LiveJournal book donor (thanks again.) It's odd that this copy was published as part of the Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century series, but when I bought the cheap used paperback with the lurid cover illustration in 1963, it was still thought by many to be not-quite-respectable, if not downright beatnik trash. This copy still has one of those "used" stickers that college book stores put on books they resell, so it was probably part of the assigned reading in some student's literature class. I don't know if I should feel a bit smug about having been somewhat daring when I was 18, or a bit sad about now being a stodgy old geezer who will re-read a book some young whippersnapper didn't enjoy enough to keep as part of their personal collection.
It having been November 8th, the local media were full of fire anniversary pieces today, and I read a couple of them, but still find the whole thing too depressing to dwell on. There was also a commemorative event in the town itself, which I did not attend. The ruins have mostly been cleared, but I gather that not much reconstruction is going on yet. It's likely to take many years to regenerate that place, given the fact that its economic foundation was primarily the retired population that lived on pension money, and the much of the rest of the population was there only to provide goods and services to the retired and to each other. The town's largest single employer, the hospital, remains closed since it no longer has enough patients to keep it busy.
It seems unlikely that most of those retired people will return to a town that no longer provides many of the basic services they need. Paradise is caught in a sort of chicken-or-egg situation; no chickens, no eggs, no eggs no chickens. I don't expect to see the place rebuilt to its former size in my lifetime. But I'd bet that, now that the rubble is mostly cleared, there will be an abundance of wildflowers there next spring. I expect that there will be so much brush and grass coming up that they'll have to do some controlled burns to protect what is left of the town from another wildfire. If I'm still in Chico then I hope the smoke doesn't blow this way. I really dislike the smell of burning brush now.