THE BAIN OF RAIN
We Southern Californians welcome rain—at least on a short term basis. Rain turns the hills from desiccated brown to refreshing shades of green. It clears the smog and dust and pollen from the air and brightens the landscape.
It wards off the Water Police who spy on us through sneaky water meters that not only record how much we use but also when we water. In the city where I live, during years of drought we are allowed to water only three times weekly: on Tuesdays, Fridays, and either Saturday or Sunday.
I wonder if the Water District kidnaps miscreants and hauls them off to safe houses for questioning before shipping them to secret water-waster prisons outside the country?
Don’t misunderstand me; I dearly love rain—once I’m safe inside.
Rainy days are perfect for reading, napping, drinking hot tea, even tackling disagreeable tasks, such as shredding mounds of personal papers or tossing magazines collected for the last ten years.
When the sun at last appears, the world shines; venturing out in the rain is a different story.
Rain here is rarely gentle and soothing. Most weather systems that make it through are fierce and accompanied by cold, gale-like winds and hail. To make matters worse, our drainage systems are totally inadequate; in a heavy storm, water pools along the sides of the road causing cars to hydroplane.
Because it rains so infrequently, built-up oil makes the roads slippery, and drivers have no clue how to brake properly, so skidding is a major hazard.
Driving the freeways in a rainstorm is scary, especially at night when visibility is poor; cars slide all over the road, and great splashes of water attack the wind shield.
Southern Californians tend to be poorly equipped for wet weather; I own several raincoats, but rain boots? Forget it. And one umbrella is so inadequate it turns inside out at the whiff of a breeze.
You may surmise that I have been a recent victim of inclement weather and its affect on the local populace. Yesterday in the pouring rain, a hotel valet directed me into a lane behind what turned out to be a parked car. So I sat and sat while the cars in the next row continued to move. If I hadn’t summoned help, I might still be sitting there. Then, on the way out, they lost my car and had the nerve to suggest that perhaps I had given them a different name. Of course—that’s what I always do to confuse people. Sans raincoat, I shivered in the cold until they finally found my car. An unusual downpour and hundreds of women at the hotel to attend a literary luncheon had the valet corps completely frazzled.
It’s not raining today, but the wind is kicking up a great fuss. Guess I’ll have to brave it.
I know that readers from other areas of the country are sneering as they read this. Luckily, we’re not afflicted by tornadoes or hurricanes. But we show admirable fortitude in the face of earthquakes, floods, fire danger and mudslides.
We’re just wimps when it comes to rain—and wind.