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.
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.