In Los Angeles, a light drizzle will cause a surge in shameless news updates, all geared to hike up ratings and paranoia. Men with booming, uber-masculine voices say things like, "Storm Watch, 2009!" Blonde weathergirls in purple pleather wring their hands and sigh, "It will be over soon folks, hang in there."
Seriously? While Louisiana is blown sideways by hurricanes and Wisconsinites are trapped in their houses from three feet of snow, we whimper over drizzle? We are drowned in year-round sun, zero humidity and ocean breezes. But we are living in a desert, and for those of us fortunate enough to afford gardeners, we can hide that fact with lots of upkeep. Writer Tom Robbins lives in Seattle, and has dedicated volumes to how that drizzly grey weather makes for good writing. A few lucky Angelenos know it too, and look at it as an opportunity.
When I was on the East Coast, I loathed the rain. But I had every reason to. It rained during weddings, beach vacations and turned to dangerous sleet during the winter. It was too much. Here, where the land is parched and the sun beats down every day, those who know better would never take rain for granted. Fashionistas feel validated and drop buyer's remorse when they sport their designer rubber boots. Gardeners and car washers can enjoy a day off. Movie theatres fill up. Writers make a pot of coffee and get to work. That's what I do, anyway. With my oversize sweaters and my mug of warm goodness, I bang away at my laptop. But that's just the beginning of it. I sit on my covered back porch and think of old friends. I watch black and white movies, rearrange my closet, and best of all, become amorous. Rain is romantic. Falling asleep to the sound of rain tapping on my cabin roof is almost as sensual as when I intertwine limbs with my husband, warming myself away from the chill in the air. And if rain is romantic, thunderstorms are plain damn sexy.
I feel sorry for Angelenos who can't stand the rain. Can they be so averse to change that they can't see the obvious benefits? We get a free car wash, our cracked, dusty lawns get fed and the filthy smog gets pounded out of the air, drop by drop. Fresh air is delicious. We rediscover the comfort of our homes, we finally get to use our Burberry umbrellas, rubber boots and raincoats like true Londoners.
Perhaps being indoors forces people to think too much. To remember too much. It's a lot easier pushing away negative thoughts and memories when you're playing volleyball on the beach in Santa Monica or window shopping at The Grove. My advice to these people? If rain makes you feel sad, then let yourself be sad and get it over with. It's bound to creep up sooner or later, and better in your own home than after too many drinks on Sunset, crying into a toilet with a patient girlfriend.