I wish I could write “The HAZE” in the same f0nt as “The BLOB,” because the way people are talking today, something has arrived that is most definitely going to eat us alive. That something is the haze that results from farmers setting fire to the forests of Indonesia. You can smell it the moment you open the door: it’s like someone has lit a thousand camp fires all around you, and like they’ve also thrown a few styrofoam plates and cups into those fires for good measure. Think “acrid fireplace,” and you’ll have the right idea.
You can also see the haze, but just barely — I can’t capture it in a photo, but the air has a slightly brownish tinge. And it’s all anyone can talk about. People all around me are whipping out their phones every five minutes to check the ever-increasing PSI (Pollutant Standards Index) — at the moment, it’s at 68, which is “moderate” but not yet “unhealthy.”
The question that’s really on everyone’s mind is, “will it be as bad as last year?” Apparently, the haze lasted for a full two months last fall, and it made everyone miserable. With PSIs over 300 (“hazardous”), people couldn’t go outside, and some people got sick, and no one had any fun. So there’s a real fear that we’ll see a repeat of that, and that today is just the beginning. I’m foolish (or naive) enough to be optimistic.
Afternoon update: the PSI reading is now at 165, moving it into the “unhealthy” category — and our principal has just sent out a “haze protocol” email. I’m suddenly feeling less optimistic …