Thursday, July 23, 2015

"A Somewhat Different Perspective On The Rain"

Here’s how infrequently it rains in Southern California from April to October.  Not during our recent drought period.  Always. 

Last Sunday was the first “rainout” of a Los Angeles Angels baseball game in twenty years. 

Twenty complete seasons.  One hundred and twenty months of baseball.

One “rainout.” 

Domed stadiums have more rainouts.  (They probably don’t.  I’m just mentioning that to make a point.) 

It didn’t just rain here last Sunday.  It rained hard.  You would think with so little practice, the demonstration would be tentative and uncertain.  But apparently rain is like riding a bicycle.  It remembers how to do it.   

There was even some thunder.  Although it wasn’t that impressive.  I was like, “Was that thunder?”  To be honest it was an embarrassing performance.  Indiana thunder, clearing its throat.

You may possibly know this, but we have had a drought here for over four years.  Can you imagine that?  There are four year-old California kids who have never seen it rain.  Who knows how they reacted?

“Mommy!  The sky’s crying!”

(A perplexed two-and-half year-old Milo remarked at an uncommon sprinkle:  “Somebody’s spitting on me.”)

Adult response to the downpour was eminently predictable.

“We needed it.”

By which they meant… exactly what you think they meant.  Things grow in the ground? They need water.  There’s a long period of no rain?  Apricots become raisins. 

Plus – no rain – everything’s dry – there are fires.

This is the standard reaction.  To which I have nothing to add.

Except this.

I do not deny the importance of rainfall.

Do you ever read any of this over?”

What do you mean?

“That was a weird sentence.”

I was going somewhere, okay? 

“Sorry.  Carry on.”

Thank you.  Man!

Okay, where was I?  Oh, yeah.

I do not deny the importance of rainfall.  It is just that my “take” on the importance of that rainfall is substantially different. 

People in Southern California take the magnificent weather we have here for granted.  What do Southern Californians call a spectacular day?


Or any other day of the week. 

(Because the spectacular days are interchangeable.)

Perpetual perfection becomes routinized, and as a consequence can in no way considered a treat.

It’s just Tuesday. 

Again and again.

Unexpectedly, it rains.  You go, “Wow!”  We had it pretty good there for twenty years.

Suddenly, you appreciate that perpetual perfection.  It is retroactively a treat.

As a former Canadian, I take a neverending delight in how unbelievable things are here.  Because I have experienced “The Other Side.”

A treat in Canada is daylight.  In the winter, you get slate gray until sundown, which is around three.  And then it’s black.  Unless there’s a blizzard abrewin’, in which case it gets black before sundown.  That’s how you know there’s a blizzard abrewin’.

I guess it’s sort of a paradox, but when conditions are perfect, you are lacking in treats.  You could say you have treats all the time.  But “treats all the time” feel nothing like treats.  They feel like “Ho hum” business as usual.

A synonym for perennial perfection?


“Beautiful day, isn’t it?”

“And your point is…?”

Do you ever see Canadians in the summer?  They are almost giddy.  The Southern California reaction to summer?

“It’s summer?”   

The concept of treats requires intermittent deprivation.  That’s the “down” side.  The “up” side is, because of that deprivation, when they come to you, the treats feel like actual treats.   

There is no “Oh, boy!” to business as usual.  There is usually no reaction at all.  Unless boredom is a reaction.  Which it is, but it is hardly an enviable one.

“I wish I were bored like Melissa!”

You hardly ever hear that.

I actually feel sad for people who do not experience treats.  If  “The best things in life” are indeed free, then the people who have nothing are apparently taken care of. 

Which leaves the extremely affluent to worry about.

The extremely affluent have a problem.  Everything is affordable.  Everything!

“I bought Belgium.”

It’s nothing.  They had the money, Belgium was available – they picked it up.


The thing is, where’s the excitement?  If everything is within reach, what then would be describable as a treat?

“Buying France.”

Yeah, for a minute.  Then you get over “I bought France” and you’re on to “What’ll I buy next?”

I’m happy it finally rained.  So what we have here can be recognized as a treat.  Too much of a good thing – the thrill is nowhere to be found.

Which is why I am cutting this post short.

I want to maintain it as a treat.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

Florida gets lots of rain, but the winters are so fabulous. I kept moving away, then I'd come back to visit in the winter A year or two later and feel the warm breezes, see the palm trees. Then I'd think, why did I ever leave here? And I'd move back.

And then I'd stay until I forgot it was special, move away, rinse and repeat. Of course, I'd usually move to Las Vegas, which also had palm trees. Ocean to desert and back again, the cycle went on for decades. Until around 2009. Have a feeling I'm due back in Florida soon. At least for a visit. But that is how the cycle starts, so who knows. San Diego is in the running now, so it may be a new cycle forming.