Rain Dance

Rain in Los Angeles is kind of a big deal. We don’t really have weather here except for Santa Anas (dry desert wind that screws with allergies like a mofo), a stray heat wave now and again, and an occasional rain, but in general it’s a very temperate climate.

In some ways, this is nice. Going outdoors is less complicated than in other parts of the country because inclement weather is not often a factor, and we never have to shovel our driveways. We get a lot more vitamin D than inhabitants of other parts of the globe, and most of us don’t own chains for tires or long underwear.

In other ways, this leaves us totally unprepared for weather when it does chance to occur. And traveling to colder climates, like say, Michigan in January? We’re helpless. While we’re layered to the teeth with the heater cranked up to 72°, native Michiganians (is that a word? Michigonians? Michigaños?) laugh at us as they prance about in their tee-shirts  and make snow angels in the 30-below arctic wonderland.

This is why I’ve never been to Michigan in January. I had never even seen snow until I was a teenager, so any time the temperature drops below 40° I go into a state of auto-hypothermia.

The effects of rain on an average Angeleño is particularly disastrous. Most notably, the ability to operate a motor vehicle is the first of the casualties. This ability escapes from the brain via the “Sunshine Receptors” (small holes located at the crown of an Angeleño’s head) at the first sign of a slick road. Apprehension is the first symptom, which results in granny-like slow driving and unnecessary braking on the freeway. Irrationality follows, causing skidding and improper levels of applied braking pressure. Finally, panic ensues, and drivers are subject to yelling and obscene finger gestures as recourse for fender-benders and arriving late at the office.

Sunshine Receptors are only visible postmortem, so don’t go looking for them.

There is, however, a Chosen Few who retain the capabilities of those fellow species fortunate enough to live outside of the L.A. basin. These Chosen Few each have their own super-power, and wield them like cape-wearing paragons of hope for dwellers of this sprawling metropolis. Some are able to withstand temperatures in the 50’s without breaking into goose-flesh; others can walk in the snow like normal people and remain upright on a snowboard. Personally, I haven’t developed the necessary leg muscles for such a feat; I go down like gorilla en pointe.

No, my superpower is the ability to drive in the rain without the need for a tranquilizer. Be amazed, readers, for this indeed is a gift unpossessed by many of my Malibu-Barbie compatriots.

In this way, I am unique among my countrymen. Rain is not much of an inhibitor for me. In fact, I like the rain. It enables one to be cozy, a rare state for those living in this Mediterranean climate. It’s something different to break up the monotony of day-after-day…sunshine. Like living in a Twilight-Zone episode, so much nice weather gets creepy after a while. Imagine needing to wear a tank-top on Christmas Day because it’s topping 80°, when everyone around you is singing about snow – it can really mess with your perception of reality. Especially when as a ten-year old, you imagine snow to taste like fluffy spun-sugar.

God knows we need the rain – California has been in a drought since I was in pre-school, so, basically for like an eon. Any time it chances to rain where I live, everyone you run into looks up at the sky and remarks, “Yep, we’re due,” or “It sucks, but we sure needed it.” We always need it.

So today it’s raining, and my intention is to snuggle up with my blue afghan, a steaming mug of tea and a book while the rain gently patters my roof. This way, I can pretend I’m somewhere else. Just for an evening.

The sounds of screeching tires and crunching vehicular metal outside my window? I’ll just ignore them. Stupid Sunshine Receptors.


  • Chris Plumb

    Comical. I was driving (late) to work today in a rather insane Oregon downpour, and on the freeway was a guy in a Prius going 42 mph. He nearly caused four wrecks with his slow driving and late lane changes (without signaling). When I got up closer I saw the California tags, and it all made sense. “Your out of your element, dude” I yelled to him; but he couldn’t see me, as his eyes were so intent on the road.

    ‘Course, the one (and only) time I drove through LA while on my honeymoon, I felt like my car taking 9 seconds to get up to 65 mph was destroying the beautiful thing that is Orange County traffic. No matter how aggressive I tried to get on the LA roads, I was probably like Ms. Daisy. I’m sure plenty of “stupid Oregonians” were yelled that day.

    • Natalie the Singingfool

      This just proves my expostulation!! See, Californians DO NOT know how to have weather!
      And yes, when someone is driving toooooo sloooooow, it’s usually an out of state license plate on the car. They just aren’t used to our perpetual spring.

  • JesTheMess

    I haven’t seen snow either – are you telling me it DOESN’T taste like spun sugar?

    We have rain but people still forget how to drive in it.

    And 80F is still jumper and jeans weather, sorry. Come for Christmas here, where it is usually about 100F and we are STILL singing about snow. Where it doesn’t snow.

    The snuggle up sounds lovely though; that’s my favourite cold weather activity!

    • Natalie the Singingfool

      Er, yes *of course* it tastes like spun sugar. Ahem.
      And I’m telling you, those from the LA basin don’t know how to have weather of any kind, hot or cold! If it wavers anywhere out of a twenty degree margin, we’re screwed. A 100° Christmas would incite riots. You must be a tough cookie!

  • Tamara

    East Texas is the land of perpetual heat and drought. 80’s on Christmas day is pretty normal, as is 110 in June. A little rain (or God forbid snow) causes mass panic! LOL! So, I completely understand where you are coming from!
    This is a great post, thanks for the smile!

    • Natalie the Singingfool

      Oh, just wait for it. That’s (one reason) why I avoid snow at all costs. And the rain here can get pretty intense on occasion, complete with flood and downed power lines. It’s actually pretty violent right now, so I think I’m going to stay inside…
      Plus I already got drenched on the way to my car this morning…because I was stupid and didn’t bring an umbrella.

  • Stacie

    This is so precious. I wear two pairs of pants from the end of October through March. In addition to wool socks and nothing but sensible shoes. There’s no lookin’ cutsie when you have hypothermia staring you in the face. Enjoy your rain!

  • Erica Schatz

    Growing up in New Jersey, and spending most of his young adult life in D.C., my boyfriend constantly complains/makes fun of California rain drivers. What’s funny, is I read your post in bed last night, and woke up this morning to everyone on my facebook cautioning us to drive carefully today in the rain! haha

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