The Rain It Raineth Every Day

It often occurs to me that I am a fool.  It happened again yesterday morning.  I was wading across a flooded intersection in San Francisco’s SoMa district.  My umbrella was tattered, my luggage soaked through but floating nearby.  If I can keep a grip on the bag, I thought, then at least I won’t drown.

The rain had beat at the windows all night.  Inside my tenth-floor hotel room I heard a loud treble moaning begin about 11pm.  A female guest in the grip of carnal enthusiasm, I thought.  But just as I began to feel embarrassed for her, I realized it was the wind.  In the morning the concierge asked if I wanted a cab.  “Don’t be silly – just a little rain,” I said.  A defiant whim: I would walk it, like Lear on the heath.  Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks, and all that. 

From Geary to King: thirty minutes on foot which I’d timed to perfectly coincide with the fiercest blast of the storm.  I pass it over without further comment, the trauma still being fresh.  I splashed into the office like a sea lion from the surf, out of breath, shedding rainwater in broad, cool puddles over polished wooden floors. 

“You didn’t walk all the way from the hotel?” my boss asked, incredulous.  “Was it not raining when you left?”

“No,” I said, “I was a fool from the start.”


Filed under Levity

8 responses to “The Rain It Raineth Every Day

  1. I was once on foot in Hyderbad during the torrential rain season and made the mistake of taking a back road to my destination. These are often used as wash-outs during a flood, when all the water from the surrounding streets finds its way through tiny channels and constructed gutters and gets deposited in the alleys, turning them into rivers. I just barely made it around a corner before I was swept away with all the floating garbage. A local man passing on a bicycle waved and rang his bell at me and yelled, “Don’t go that way!” And I yelled back, “Thank you.” I don’t know why. Politeness I guess. He really didn’t seem to be making fun.

  2. Ian Wolcott

    Oh my. It would have made an awful, but interesting, way to snuff it.

    I’m enjoying your blog, by the way. I just read this from your Introduction:

    “The reason that newspapers don’t sell in large numbers anymore has nothing to do with the internet. It’s because newspapers have degenerated into tame, advertiser-whipped newsletters for business.”

    As someone marginally involved in corporate public relations, I can only say that this is too terribly true. The way so many stories are written today…. It’s better not described. In my experience, this is most true of broadcast, but it can be true of print as well. There are some principled journalists in the print world, but there aren’t enough of them, and they’re discouraged.

    I’m more personally concerned with the fate of book publishing, but perhaps that’s another story.

    • I think that books will be alright, although which technological route it takes is still undecided. William Gibson, the science fiction writer who created the word “cyberspace,” was asked recently what he thought about the future survival of the book and he laughed. He said that the book really is a technology of discourse, a set of practices of reading and writing, that has developed over centuries, and that this makes it probably the most durable technology in history. I think he’s right.

      • Ian Wolcott

        I met William Gibson once, at a book fair in Seattle many years ago. I worked for a book shop in the city and was manning our booth, and he spent about an hour with us signing books for people and chatting.

        Of course, there’s a distinction between the book as object and the book as text. It sounds like Gibson in your quote is talking about the latter, and I’m sure he’s right that the book as text isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. As noted in the intro for my Book Porn series, I’m somewhat more concerned about the prospects of the book as object.

  3. Ian, there’s a Melvillian note in this, your latest entry. I don’t mean simply for the wateriness, but for the sheer saturation of the experience as you describe it. Somehow it calls to mind a sort of cognate passage in Moby-Dick on chowder: “Fishiest of all fishy places was the Try Pots, which well deserved its name; for the pots there were always boiling chowders. Chowder for breakfast, and chowder for dinner, and chowder for supper, till you began to look for fish-bones coming through your clothes.”

    • Ian Wolcott

      If you say there’s something Melvillian in anything I wrote, I’ll take it as a compliment, Melville being a god. Thanks!

  4. Jonathan

    There’s been rain a-plenty down in San Diego this week. I’ve been lucky thus far in my own hotel-to-work walks and avoided your sea lion experience. It’s the wind that has been unusually strong down here this week. When I checked out of my hotel this morning, they told me the wind actually broke the hotel’s front doors (sliding glass) yesterday. Crikes!

    • Ian Wolcott

      Crikes, indeed! Our San Francisco office has a balcony and during the some serious wind on Tuesday the door flew open and wouldn’t shut again. The properly managers had to bring in some guys to bolt it closed with a metal bar. Shattering glass is a bit more impressive.

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