California is experiencing its ritual cleansing. This happens about once a year, but because we've been very bad this year's cleanse is Extra Large. The third storm this week has rolled in, bringing with it high winds, hailstorms, thunder, lightning, a bit of a tornado (all about drama here in Hollywood) and the kind of rain that sounds like many buckets of water are being poured on the red clay shingle. As the earth is parched for the rest of the year and the storm drains are full of annum's detritus, few places exist for the water to actually go, so it accumulates in the streets, pours down the hillsides, and makes great rivers at intersections. My car startled me with its bravura and boldly forded the swollen tributaries (intersections at La Tuna Canyon & Glenoaks, Laurel Canyon & Magnolia merit a special mention). I had rather too much fun, truth be told, driving into the deep bits so that two great fins of water sprayed up on either side of her sleek, pale green Prius body. Hydroplaning along the 170 North right near the I-5 North transition was less exhilarating and driving alongside people who don't use mirrors or signals, particularly in the rain makes me use bad words. Very loudly.
This morning I found Amilcar, our lovely gardener, stripped down to his t-shirt with his arm hidden nearly to the shoulder down a drain in the path between the kitchen door and the hut. He'd pulled out the white plastic tubing and triumphantly thrust it in my face. Not unlike something from District 9, a bundle of brown roots was sticking out the bottom. "This is the problem" he said. "This is the eucalyptus." "Oh dear," I said "you're now covered in mud. I'm sorry." "It's no problem," he said (he says this a lot probably because I apologize a lot). "Rain is worse in my country." He comes from Belize and is, quite amusingly, an ardent anglophile. Actually, it's possible that he thinks me a nutter. He smiles at me as if I'm a special needs child. It's very dear.