I’ve always wondered why people get so freaked when they get caught in a summer rain shower. It’s only water, eh? It’s not like it’s a Biblical plague and frogs or caterpillars are going to start dropping from the sky. I understand it in the winter when the cold rain drips down your neck or a mis-placed foot landing in an icy puddle squishes water into your shoes. That kind of rain just adds misery to the miserable conditions you already have to deal with. But in the summer I always feel like it’s a blessing to get caught, unprepared, in a shower. I absolutely see no reason to scurry off for shelter. I particularly like the people who hold a tiny piece of paper on top of their heads to keep them dry. Why? But, in all fairness, maybe they are wearing much more expensive clothes than I and care more about their hair-dos.
It seems like I’ve been like this for my whole life. I remember when I lived in DC where the summers were putridly hot and humid, I would leave my air conditioned work at 5 and start the trek home. I’d walk up Connecticut Avenue towards Columbia Road and, inevitably, by the time I got to the top where the “Hinkley” Hilton — my friend Ken’s name for the hotel where Hinkley shot Reagan — sits, the skies would open. It would pour and pour rain. I’d take my shoes off and just carry on. Clothes would stick to me and my hair would drip into my eyes. Sometimes people would make comments — it was DC where street comments were just part of the experience of living there — but I didn’t care. For that half hour of walking home, I was cool — in the temperature sense at least. But by the time I had supper fixed, it would be hot and humid again and I would be cursing my landlord for not putting in an air conditioner.
Maybe my mother conditioned me to like to be in the rain. When we were little, I remember — or at least I think I remember — that as long as there wasn’t lightening and thunder, she’d let us go out in the rain. It was great. We’d build dams out of twigs and bottle caps to divert the water as it ran down the street or we’d splash in puddles and scream when someone splashed us, even though we were already soaked. I do hope this is a valid memory. It’s so tricky the older I get to know which memories really happened and which ones I just made up somewhere along the way. But I do think this one is true. Maybe mom only let us go out in the rain once, but that does a valid memory make. I wonder if she made us sit on the back porch until we dried off or did she let our little wet bodies back in the house to drip over the linoleum? That part of the story isn’t included in my selective memory.
So all of this is to explain why today I didn’t mind one-little-bit getting caught in a real, summer downpour. We haven’t had much rain this summer and when the super rain storms did come, it seemed to always be in the middle of the night or when I had already tucked myself in at home and was not eager to leave my book, wine and nibbles to go out frolicking in the rain. But that didn’t happen today. The heavens opened just as I got off the bus to walk home. By the time I reached my door, my pants, shirt, backpack, and shoes were soaked through. It was wonderful! The cats skedaddled as soon as I opened the door just in case I thought it would be a good joke to shake myself, dog-like, over their furry bodies. The thought did cross my mind. Cats have no sense of humour whatsoever.