Sunday, June 15, 2008

It Never Rains in California

...At least not compared to how it rains in New York. I was getting ready on Saturday to visit a friend in Park Slope when I was beckoned to my window by a noise that sounded like a clan of monkeys on my roof. After speculation, I realized that it was just and still hard, heavy rain. Real, and actual rain. The kind that makes a perfectly coiffed woman look like a drowned rat within 2 minutes. Thank God I have braids. I shoved my foot into heavy rain boots and grabbed the huge umbrella I was forced to buy earlier that day (which cost $15 for some un-Godly reason). But, this is New York, so NO JACKET, mind you. It was still a blazing 88 degrees outside. and being rained on is much more pleasant that sweating like a pig. I called for a cab begrudgingly instead of taking the train. Why does rain cost so damn much?

The next day while walking to the F train, it rained some more. But I noticed a few things that were pretty amazing. The first thing I noticed was that there was a farmers market down 9th, lining the streets and stretching out for blocks and blocks. Kiosks and tents perched near the sidewalk and the smell of Italian sausages and Jerk chicken wafting through the misty breeze. By now the rain had caused my umbrella to spring a leek, and water was hesitantly dripping on my face. My pants were soaked through, and my first instinct was to turn up my lip to the situation and think how it was such a waist to have such a cool little market set up outside in the pouring rain. But then I realized the place was buzzin. There were loads of people walking around, going from tent to tent sniffing the foods, and buying tee shirts and picking up pamphlets about conserving energy. People with shorts and rain boots on, looking as ridiculous as I was. Some people without umbrellas, walking in the rain with soaked hair, as if the it didn't bother them at all. In California, everyone would be pissed. Soaked completely through? Hell no, Californians would leave the pitiful market and run to the closest Jamba Juice for shelter. But here in the middle of Park Slope, everyone just carried on with their day as planned. So I strolled through and bought a little statue of those four weird monkeys; the see no evil, speak no evil ones. I got an Italian sausage on a hot dog bun, smothered in peppers and strings of grilled onions so long they looked like linguine.

I stood near the entrance of a deli munching on my snack and observing the scene. The rain rushing down the slanted streets creating currents beneath the tires of parked cars and into the gutters like waterfalls. California rain, I realized at that point, usually only comes down hard or long enough to annoy you. Long enough to make your hair frizzy. And just enough to make your car dirtier rather than cleaner. But this rain, this tsunami, hurricane rain; seemed to be washing everything clean. It smelled so fresh. I never understood those Downy commercials, referring to their latest scents as "Fresh Rain" and "New Rain". But now, in the middle of a blazing hot summer, when it seemed as if even the buildings were sweating, a cool shower was released on everyone and things slowed down. No one scattered. Some people walked barefoot. The rain was just another element of their environment. Like bright yellow taxis in the city, or subway stop lanterns scattered through the neighborhoods. And in that sense the rain was just like sunshine.

I hung around for a bit, but then continued on my way. I might be a New York implant, but California runs through my veins....and the fact still remains that we likes to stay dry.