Mention of the weather in polite conversation is inevitable. It usually serves as a brief introduction to other more interesting topics. It seems, however, that we are living in very unusual times, because latterly I find that the weather has been promoted, in conversation, from preface to primary constituent. I am surprised by how many conversations I have about the weather.
Most frequently such exchanges begin with the words, “Can you believe the weather?” To which the de rigueur exclamation in response is “I know, isn’t it terrible.” Once empathy is established the door is opened to a flood of what I think of as climactic lament.
We’ve had a lot of rain recently and each time it rains crestfallen souls everywhere I go whimper on in extreme misery about the fact that the weather is so miserable. They can’t stand it! It has got to stop! It’s ruining their social lives. They can’t dry the laundry. My personal lament was that I didn’t drill holes in the bottom of one of my plant boxes and all my petunias drowned. My bad!
In many a torrential rain I have fought my way through female bodies huddled at the entrances of northern suburb shopping centres. I have elbowed my way through along with those who duck and dash. They are an elite and faith filled group the duck-‘n-dashers. They continue to believe, despite their experience to the contrary, that they won’t get wet as long as their heads are bowed low. Their heads are often bowed so low that one wonders if they can see where they’re going. They duck and they dash regardless. They dive behind the steering wheel cursing the absence of covered parking. They are more daring, or perhaps just busier than the crowds huddled inches from the threat of being touched by a single drop of rain; their cars so near and yet rendered so far beyond reach by the advent of a bit of weather.
I used to wonder why the people of the northern suburbs don’t want to go out into the rain. I don’t think it has to do with carefully coiffed heads; some huddlers hold umbrellas. My question was answered by simply looking at their feet. These feet are not shod in wellies. The feet of the northern suburbs are generally clad in some very delicious footwear. More than once I have seen someone remove their shoes and tuck them under their jacket to protect them from getting wet or stained by mud. The logic, I suppose, being that one can always wash ones feet. One can always repair ones pedicure. But what in heavens name is one going to do with a mud splattered cream satin Jimmy Choo?
Personally, I love the rain. It is esthetically pleasing, although this last couple of weeks have caused even me to throw my hands up to the heavens and proclaim “Enough Already!” What I love is when the rain pounds the earth like a monsoon. When it bounces in huge blobs off the road and creates rippling pools in the grass. I love, especially, when it rains at night. To curl up warm and cozy with a good book, a good movie, or a good man while the world takes a water bashing is the stuff of life. I love the comforting sound of the rain on my roof. But, even this pleasure is surpassed when thunder and lightening join in. A trilogy of the monsoon-like rain; the thunder so loud that the ground shakes beneath; then a sudden intense flash in the sky and the electric patterns of the lightening feeds my soul. This is climactic drama of the most spectacular order. This is one of the sexiest things in the world. This is when I think that the universe has chosen to spoil us.
The rain continues to be the conversational constituent even when it has stopped. The aftermath of the deluge is all about thanking the heavens that it has finally stopped raining; or the begrudging surmise that at least the farmers must be happy. Me and the farmers both, is my way of thinking, because now I don’t have to get the hose out and water the garden. Those who don’t have daily gardening help or sprinkler systems installed will, I’m sure, sympathise with my position.
I love how vibrantly bright and clean the leaves and the grass look after the rain; how refreshed the flowers and how joyfully the birds twitter because they know that the worms are going to slither to the surface to take a celebratory peek, unaware of the fact that after the rain it’s banquet time for the birds.
Mercifully, the sun comes out. We are blessed with bright sunny days. It is divinely hot. We languish luxuriously by our swimming pools, and the climactic lamenters give voice. “Can you believe the weather? I can’t stand this heat!” And the de rigueur exclamation in response is on cue. “I know isn’t it terrible. I wish it would rain just to cool things down.”
Hau! And then?