“But Girl, Don’t They Warn Ya? It Pours”*

It’s raining in sunny Southern California right now. (And they said it never rains here). I was supposed to play tennis today and it was cancelled! Do you know how few things get cancelled due to weather here? Whereas that was life on the East coast. We even had a phrase for it, weather permitting, an acknowledgment that all plans were contingent upon forces outside our control. Some, like me, might say contingent upon God. (Although I do wonder just how much God really cares about family reunions and soccer games going on as scheduled).

So what does one do in sunny Southern California when the rain falls? Well, here’s what you don’t do:

  1. The weekly plant watering. I have a succulent garden in its infancy, thanks to adopted cuttings from some co-workers at Friends In Deed Food Pantry. (See how I included a plug there? Donations always accepted as I have made mention in other posts). https://friendsindeedpas.org/fid/what-we-do/our-programs/the-food-pantry/ I do not seem to have killed these plants yet, and am hoping that part of my new West Coast life will include a better handle on growing things from the ground. What I do know is my cacti don’t need me to bring the hose out today.
  2. Take my newly discovered ArmorAll cloths to the yellow bird poop on my car. See, I got a new (to me, as they say) car last month and I find myself suddenly concerned with the paint job, small scratches, and errant leaves on the floor mats. I am sure there was also a point in time when I focused such attention on my Toyota Rav4 Sport, but I can’t remember that. What I do remember is hauling kids and their friends, furniture, and pets all around Northern New Jersey. And then, what would end up the Rav 4’s last big haul, driving across the country to my new home in sunny, Southern California. Thanks Rav4, but I have moved on. (If only I could let go of other relationships as cleanly).
  3. Feed the birds. Because who wants wet seed — and who wants to get wet putting bird food on a plate in their backyard when 98% of the time there would be no such risk involved? I can wait, so can the birds. (And yes, I see there may well be a correlation between the need to regularly clean the car and my Mary Poppins-like desire to “feed the birds, tuppence a bag.”
  4. Go for a walk behind the LA River. My usual one-hour loop is a good one, lots of hills and very few people. You would think after all this isolation I would be hungry for humanity, but I still feel pretty selective about human company and don’t think I’m going to make any new best friends in these neighborhoods of gaudy homes and high-end vehicles. Now this is not judgement as much as it’s simply an understanding, based upon over a half century of making friends. My friends have not lived in houses, nor driven cars, like those lining Royal Boulevard. Just saying.
  5. Go to the grocery store. Again, it’ll not be raining very soon and life is just easier running errands when it’s not raining. And, by the way, I noticed only days after bringing my new car home, that the back window has no wiper! It never occurred to me, but I guess when you move into a relatively sporty 2-door Honda Accord — with a V6, mind you! — back window wipers are no longer deemed necessary. So yeah, I’d have to get wet wiping down my back window if I went out now. (See #3).

By now, some of my East Coast friends may be fretting that I have quickly turned soft out here. They would be wrong. That is because I was always soft when it came to weather. Yes, I forced myself to go for long walks in 30 degree temperatures (at least the sun is shining, I would say, pushing myself out the door). I also ran errands in the snow; and swept off wet tennis courts in the spring, hoping that the rain would hold off for even just an hour. I detested those experiences. My dad told me when I was young that I was too sensitive to the weather, that I should not allow what was happening outside to affect my insides essentially. But Dad, science says that our environments shape who we are, so why wouldn’t howling wind or driving rain or pelting hail make me feel some kind of way? (If only I had been able to articulate such an idea back then. Instead I just felt I had let him down again, revealed my to-be-avoided weakness once more).

So until this rain is over, and the ground returns to its normal desert-state, I’m going to do indoor things. And, unlike most days, I will not feel the need to scheme in order to figure out how to get these things done outside, because, well, it’s raining right now in sunny, Southern California. But just for now.

*Albert Hammond – “It Never Rains In Southern California” (1973) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gmq4WIjQxp0

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