They say where there’s smoke, there’s fire. But what happens when there’s too much fire? As I looked out my window at the haze engulfing my beloved city, I couldn’t help but wonder: If one little spark could burn more than nine million acres of land in Canada, then why couldn’t my new flame even bother to call me back? In an era when smoke could travel across continents, why wasn’t my new boyfriend willing to take a cab from SoHo to the Upper East Side?
After clearing my throat, I knew it was time to clear the air. Here I was, single and swallowing more smog than Samantha on a Saturday night. I started thinking about communication and how maybe this was Earth’s way of telling us something. Maybe we all needed to see our relationship with the planet the way we might a romantic partner. We were, after all, bound to its surface.
I was starting to see things clearly—or as clearly as anyone could through the thick haze. All this time, I had been looking for my perfect match, but now I could see that the wrong kind of ignition could be dangerous. I stared at the phone. I couldn’t tell if it was the 377 AQI or the fact that he still hadn’t called, but I felt my eyes begin to water.
As I closed the window to keep more smoke from filling my apartment, I knew I was also closing a window on the life I once knew. I couldn’t wait around for a man, and I couldn’t ignore global warming like it was last season’s Prada knockoffs lining Canal Street. I knew it was time to make a change. If I didn’t, Earth would continue to suffer. They say nothing lasts forever, but what about the planet? Was I really ready to let that relationship die?
I decided to take action into my own hands and call Charlotte. She said she had already researched and ordered us air purifiers. I couldn’t help but think about how I had taken my friends and clean air for granted. I used to only care about wearing fabulous shoes and attending fabulous parties with fabulous friends and breathing fabulous air. But now I found myself caring about not dying in an apocalyptic hellscape. After all, hazmat suits and Manolos don’t exactly mix.
I then called Miranda to ask if the haze had reached Brooklyn. “For the last time, Carrie,” she said, “Brooklyn is not that far from Manhattan. We’re literally part of the same city.” I asked, “Hey! Where’s the fire?!” And she said she’d call me back later.
After hanging up, I had a thought. I once wrote, “Man may have discovered fire, but women discovered how to play with it.” I still believe that to be true, but I couldn’t help but worry that no one bothered learning how to control it.
Then again, maybe it wasn’t about control. Maybe it was about caring and being there for each other, like how my friends are always there for me. Maybe the Earth was just like so many women in New York City, waiting around for somebody to call. And maybe, just maybe, we weren’t going to wait anymore.
Perhaps like women, some fires aren’t meant to be tamed.