Funny things happen when it rains in California. I get positively giddy with the prospect of a few droplets gracing our Los Angeles streets and sidewalks. Today’s rain was torrential by almost anyone’s standards, especially ours.
The campus was filled with miserable, sodden looking pedestrians, umbrellas and hoods up, plowing through puddles. Many of the umbrellas, dusty from lack of use, had broken spindles. Who wants to replace an umbrella when you have a 1 in about 350 chance of needing it? Save the money – buy a frappucino. The rain pelted our little doomed wooden framed building today, drumming away with the soothing cadence of…well, rain. So unfamiliar and yet so comforting.
Yesterday, at lunch with my colleagues, I remarked that I didn’t want to have to go out to get lunch the next day because it was supposed to really rain. I said I would make chili. Apparently no one believed me, but I did make chili, veggie chili, and brought it to work in one of my two new linkable crock pots.
I don’t know what possessed me to buy linkable crock pots. I got so tickled by the idea that there could be a situation that would require not just one crockpot, but multiples, all linked in a merry row, that last Saturday, when I found myself at Macy’s taking half-hearted advantage of Black Friday (yes, I know it was Saturday), I picked a set up. In my mind, I envisioned the chili cook-off, hosted by Fionn Murphy for the work-study students at the Bing Theatre with 6 of the little buggers all lined up and plugged into one extension cord. The crockpots, I mean, not the students. In my mind, each crockpot had a label saying what kind of chili was in it and who made it affixed to the front just above the little dial. It was a swell fantasy.
I had walked to Macy’s because it’s only about two blocks from my place, but once I bought the dastardly duo, the distance was daunting; I bravely carried on, periodically shifting my other bag and silently, grimly, willing the plastic handle that the saleswoman had slapped onto the box to hold for just another 100 feet. When I collapsed on the couch ready for a nap, my husband couldn’t believe I had carried it all the way. I couldn’t either.
That’s how crazy we get in California with just the prospect of rain in our minds. That was days ago. Today, the rain was relentless. The dormant construction site next to my building has a fence wrapped with the type of green windscreen that cloaks tennis courts and keeps the wind from ruining your game, or showing passersby that your tennis game isn’t up to snuff. A modesty panel, if you will. Today, that green cloth was flying like a proud flag, parallel to the ground, whipped up by the gusts accompanying the rain. Nothing modest about it.
At 5:00, I went to the parking garage and picked up my car, driving down to park behind my building where I loaded my bag and my now-empty-chili-crockpot, backed out of the driveway, and edged slowly toward Vermont. There were two young women who seemed to have a death wish, both of them clutching their iphones, and standing right in the middle of the driveway. I braked, and sat mesmerized by their complete obliviousness to my car. One of them looked up, saw me, then wandered back into the driveway and stopped, looking down at her screen and texting. The other moved off the driveway onto the sidewalk, then began waving frantically at my car. She looked kind of familiar, so I slowed the car and started to roll down my window. But as I stopped, I realized she wasn’t familiar but by then she was reaching for the handle to the back door. I thought she needed directions, so eager did she look, so I rolled down the window. Her bright, expectant eyes lit up as she searched my face and then, looking down at the screen of her phone and back up, she said, “Christine?”
Realizing that I had been taken for an Uber driver, I looked up at her and deadpanned, “No, not Christine. I don’t know you.” Then I rolled my window up and drove away. This is crazy behavior and all due to the rain. She wanted me to be Christine but I just couldn’t do it for her.
I got a good chuckle out of that and when my phone rang almost immediately I was able to share the story with Chris. The two of us enjoy the silly things that happen in daily life. They delight us. You may remember my earlier post about the rats who got into his car and ate about $4800. worth of the interior wiring. Rats! Today, Chris recounted again how a third episode of rodents ravaging my old car had ended with the untimely death of the marauding rodent being smashed with a sign at the Honda Dealership. See Exhibit A. When Chris had told me about this yesterday, I had screamed into my phone, the text peppered with exclamation points. STOP THE INHUMANITY!!!!!!! That part wasn’t funny. What was funny, was the fact that now, our son was having to drive around San Francisco with the windows up (because of the rain) and suffering through the stench of a decaying rodent.
“Why don’t you get a pine scented hanger to put in the car?” I inquired sweetly. “It serves you right that you should have to smell that poor rat’s carcass rotting in your car.”
See, this is what I mean about the rain. It brings out the crazy in me. I hope I survive. I hear it’s supposed to rain again tomorrow.