Rainy Day Reminiscing

There have been some beautiful rain storms lately. Storms are amazing things. They’re amazing in the simple fact of being themselves and that nature, the weather specifically, is continually incredible, something we can’t control (yet?) and (hopefully) will never be able to. Storms also have negative connotations, too, being devastating and deadly.

Rain. Thunder. Lightning. Wind. With their powers combined, Nature is in harmony.

Rainy days and windshield haze — Downtown Syracuse. [Photo by C. Malone]

Cue the rain. Cue the constant pitter-patter on the windows and roofs: houses, cars, tents, metallic camp roofs. Listen to the soft thumps on the nylon canopy of umbrellas. The resonating sounds have their own timbre. Depending on personal opinion, it could be the second or third thing next to white noise. Raindrops could even surpass white noise in the relaxation sounds competition. It’s relaxing, in my opinion, and so is a running stream.

Although it does make sense, the car is the safest place to be during a thunderstorm. Those wheels keep the vehicle/your shelter grounded, which, in turn, keeps your mind grounded or at ease. However, during a tornado or hurricane — the closest thing I’ve experienced is the infamous 1998 Labor Day storm in central New York — a car as a shelter makes as much sense as running up the staircase to avoid the antagonist of a slasher film. You’re potentially screwed.

There have been a lot of cinematic moments that have taken place in cars and on rainy days. In 1997, Ben Affleck and Joey Lauren Adams had their break up in Chasing Amy. Three years later, John Cusack and Iben Hjejle had their make-up scene in a car during the climax of High Fidelity. But Cusack had his heart broken by Ione Skye in 1989’s Say Anything, but the sun was shining that day.

Cusack was in a glass case of emotion at night and during a storm when his Lloyd Dobler stated, “I gave her my heart, and she gave me a pen.”

We’ve had our moments as well. The rainy day road trip feeling longer than it actually is. Breakups and make out sessions. The vehicle breakdown. The personal breakdown. The breaking into songs as if no one is listening (even during the summer months when people actually are, especially on those commutes to and form work).

Oh, and let’s not forget Jurassic Park (1993). Jonathan Knight’s Dennis Nedry had a close shave, almost a clean escape, but his hubris got the best of him. So did a group of Dilophosaurus. At least the Jeep didn’t fail.

I recently (technically?) had a Nedry moment while trying to pull a bunch of things out of my car and hold them well enough to could carry them inside. It was a decent brief storm. The wind made itself known, and thunder and lightning continued the Independence Day celebrations, and rain splashed me in the face instead of ash from the fireworks.

Yes, as thought to myself, I’m no longer grounded as soon as my feet hit the pavement. There’s a big magnolia tree in my front yard, and it’s bending branches are asking to be lightning rods. The storm door is metal and the handle to access the front door is metal, too. And here I am trying to save myself a trip.

And speaking of a trip, although I did not, the ante was upped and the chances were greater with having more things to carry. My klutz of a person could have dropped everything on to the wet ground.

Moments before, a close friend texted me. “Storm’s coming. It’s coming tonight.”

Storm’s a-comin’. [Photo by D. Volles]

I replied: “Yeah? What kind?”

He, Dan, sends me a vertical photo of dark trees with a triangle of the grey sky at the top. “Yes,” he said.

“So, what do we do?” I asked.

“Well, in the movie Twister they used their waist belts to anchor themselves to a sewer pipe. The Twister went right over them and nobody got hurt,” he wrote back.

Dan paused before adding, “So do that.”

It felt strange at first running out my door and down the driveway while dressed in mesh shorts and a tank top. My right hand gripped the belt as I went to the closest sewer grate, fastened myself and waited. My neighbors looked on. Some probably called the cops.

Only kidding. (The cops were never called.)

But my girlfriend’s neighbors didn’t hesitate to let me know they were there. Last Tuesday, the rain was coming down as I made my way to her house after work. I waited in my car and fell into a social media trap: Take a video of the rain as it pelts my car’s windshield, hoping to get a blast of lightning in the footage. (I did.)

Funny. That day, I had the sensibility to stay in the car. Minutes later, when the rain slowed, the sense of comfort doused my mind. It was safe to go inside, open the metal storm door and not worry about flirting with death.

One of the two girls across the street called out, “I wouldn’t risk it!” For a brief second, I contemplated my actions. Perhaps she was right. As my luck would have it, lightning would probably zap my person as soon as a foot touched the ground.

“We’re watching yooooou!” One of them called out, but they both laughed. After exiting the vehicle, the two times I looked over and they squeaked and bolted.

Youth.

Ah! To be young again and running (and biking) the streets of the neighborhood while the rain cascaded down in sheets. Summer showers yielded warmer rain, which was a step up from spring rain. If the rain wasn’t warm, it’s coldness eased the overbearing humidity as every drop connected with exposed skin. Both equally were perfect.

I’m still debating the ranking of summer rain in comparison to autumn.

The appeal of storms was placed on my back burner for several years, teens to twenties. The adverse weather was more of a mood and plan killer than anything else. They still are at times. However, it’s great to just sit back, watch and listen. The rain tells a compelling story and has the ability to prevent racing mind minds from thinking about life’s stresses, mundane or otherwise.

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