Sunday, January 02, 2005

In a word, rain

In more words, it's raining. Pouring. There's a point in Douglas Adam's So Long and Thanks for All the Fish when a character ponders rain. This particular character drives a lorry for a living and has categorized all the types of rain and by his count, so far he's encountered 231 different kinds of rain. The point is actually all of chapter 2. This post is not really about him. Except to say that in Sleepless in Seattle Niles from Frasier says "It rains nine months a year in Seattle." I've lived there, I've lived here. And when we do something here, it's all or nothing. In Seattle, there are probably at least 231 different kinds of rain. It may take days to get the kind of overall volume that we can get down here in 30 minutes of rain. In L.A., there is but one. And when it rains here, there is no mercy.

Usually, that suits me fine. When I'm indoors and warm, I'm happy to watch the rain. I'm bummed when it rains at night and Lori's fan drowns out the rain, or when I'm at work and I can't see out the window from my desk. I really love the rain.

I love it even more now that I've moved from the San Fernando valley to the San Gabriel valley. I'm not sure why, but people out here don't seem to suck nearly as much at driving in the rain. When I first moved here, it was a big shock when it rained. One, brilliant people had built a major thoroughfare through a flood plain. Two, since it rains so infrequently, and when it does rain, it rains so hard, the rain has nowhere to go. It cannot seep into the ground, nor can it drain from the freeways fast enough. To make matters worse, all the dirt and grime and oil and stuff on the roads rises up to the top making a really slick surface. I have been at a complete stop on an offramp that sloped down and felt my car slide forward a few inches. Three, the rain seemed to scare those idiots. My five-minute drive on a normal day would suddenly take 45-60 minutes.

Over here, it doesn't seem to be as big a deal. People give adequate space, people start using their turn signals and headlights and they don't hit the brakes at the sight of a raindrop on their windshield. And all in all, it makes for a commute that isn't too bad. Although I did get a rolling warning from a yellow-slickered CHiP on a motorcycle the other morning...

But I find it interesting that people down here underappreciate Seattle because of the rain. But as I write this, I can imagine Seattlites cursing me. Shut up! We don't want the California people up here! Shut up!

Tonight I was a bastard. I parked the SUV on the ramp area of the grocery store in an attempt to get less wet as I loaded in all the groceries. I think it worked. Unloading was no fun, either. I'm now designing in my head some kind of tarp-like structure to divert the rain between the carport and the house away so that I can get less wet going to and from the car. The weirdest thing this house... you cannot get from the carport to the garage without getting soaked in the two foot gap between the two. You cannot get from the carport to the grocery unloading window without going under four feet of open air. The carport to the back door's awning is about four feet. And the back door's awning to the laundry room is another five feet. I feel like I'm going to be stringing up a lot of tarps.
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