February 9, 2001


I witnessed something on the corner of 20th and Franklin in Oakland this morning, during our daily drive to work, that I haven't seen in three years:

I saw an umbrella turned inside-out by a storm.

David and I watched as a bedraggled pedestrian, crossing against the light, finally lost her battle with the horizontal rain and the 20 mph winds, halfway through the crosswalk. Her tasteful blue-flowered umbrella buckled once or twice ... and then neatly inverted itself. I could hear the *snap*  --  and the expletive that followed  --  even with the car windows rolled up. Within seconds she was drenched from head to toe.

"This must remind you of summer in Seattle," David remarked dryly.

The two of us were sitting, warm and cozy inside the Subaru, waiting for the light to change. Richard Thompson played on the car stereo. I held a bag of oranges on my lap. David had his hand on my knee.

I nodded.

Seeing the storm today does remind me of summers in Seattle, as a matter of fact. It reminds me of winters in Seattle, too ... and autumns in Seattle, and springs, and weekends, and holidays, and vacations, and birthdays, and funerals, and family barbecues, and nights, and mornings, and Tuesdays, and everything in-between in Seattle. It reminds me of runny noses and leaky ceilings and wet socks. It reminds me of B.J. Thomas on a red plastic transistor radio. It reminds me of staying indoors during lunch recess, playing 'Seven-Up' and 'I Spy With My Little Eye' and 'Button Button Who's Got The Button?'  It reminds me of chapped lips and blue fingers and red noses. It reminds me of squeaky windshield wipers. It reminds me of wet wool sweaters cooking on an overheated radiator. It reminds me of mud puddles, and Ludens Cough Drops, and those dorky accordion-folded plastic rain bonnets they used to sell at the counter at Rexall Drugs. It reminds me of writing my name in the condensation on the window of Grandpa's station wagon. It reminds me of Bad Hair Days that inevitably turned into Bad Hair Weeks/Months/Years.

It reminds me, too, of those nasty miserable mornings in Oregon as I trudged, hungover, down the little crooked alley to the bus stop with my broken black umbrella in hand ... wondering if life was ever going to be anything but bleak and wet and difficult.

And it reminds me how incredibly lucky I am today, not only to have miraculously, unexpectedly, fortuitously landed here in the Bay Area, where the summers aren't too hot and the winters aren't too cold and I actually need to use sunscreen in February and I can usually -- except for days like today, of course -- get by with just a sweater, year-round ...

(and where inside-out-umbrellas are unusual enough to warrant commentary on the website)

... but also it reminds me how lucky I am to enjoy a warm, safe, pleasurable, umbrella-free, hangover-free, delivered-straight-to-my-office-door commute to work every single morning, with a lovely man who drives with his hand on my knee. Rain or shine.

These are luxuries I do not take for granted.

before i have to kill somebody ...
help bring back Fast Lane Tea!
[tell 'em SECRA sent you]

throw a rock