October 10, 2000


I fell asleep last night listening to one of the sweetest, most comforting sounds I know (besides the sound of David sawing logs on the pillow next to mine, that is):

The sound of rain.

Specifically, the sound of raindrops on the window, and the sound of cars splashing through puddles on the street outside, and the sound of rain dripping gently and steadily from rooftops and treetops and utility poles. (Plus: the sound of absolutely NO goddamn basketballs, bouncing on the sidewalk outside our bedroom window. Bad Noisy Teens are afraid of weather, apparently.)

Rain. Lovely, soothing, wonderful rain.

The perfect lullaby for this frazzled, exhausted, displaced Seattle Girl.

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Have you ever been so tired that you're afraid you can't fall asleep?

So completely worn-out that even stripping off your clothes and laying your head down on a pillow requires more effort than you have *energy molecules* for?

So profoundly exhausted that you know nothing is going to help: not Melatonin, not Valerian Root, not Sleepytime Tea, not sex ... not eighteen ounces of Triple Chocolate Thunder with half a jar of caramel sauce dumped on top ... ?

That was me last night.

I crawled home from my *Day In Totem Pole Hell* yesterday, a big inert blob of aching, quivering exhaustion. I slapped a messy and disjointed journal entry onto the website, ate a plate of warmed-over spaghetti and a hunk of garlic bread ...

... and promptly plunged brain-first into a coma at 7:30 p.m., on the living room sofa.

But it was only temporary.

I woke up an hour later -- *BANG* -- when David was leaving to take care of a family obligation. I sat up and frowned blearily, like a grumpy Mother Bear whose hibernation has been rudely interrupted.

"Enjoy your nap?" David asked sweetly.

Actually ... no. The "nap" had just made things worse: I was now jarringly, painfully awake. If anything wakes me up within an hour after I first fall asleep, it can take me hours to drift off again. That's why I generally try to avoid early-evening naps. I figured: that was it. That was all the sleep I was going to get for this particular evening. I might as well get up and do something productive for the next twelve hours or so ... like defrosting the refrigerator, or exfoliating something ... until it was time to report back to the Totem Pole Company.

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It was while I was standing in the bathroom rinsing pantyhose in the sink that I heard it.

A familiar sound, like a faucet running in the next room. Or crowd noise from the high school football game, ten blocks away. Or static coming from an unattended TV.

Or ... rain?

I have discovered that when you spend the first forty years of your life shivering at a bus stop, watching your umbrella turn inside-out  --  and then you abruptly find yourself transplanted to the Bay Area, like Dorothy suddenly landing in Oz  --  it's entirely possible to forget what rain feels like on your skin. You forget what rain smells like on dry pavement, or dripping from leaves. You forget what rain looks like, puddling in sidewalk cracks. You forget what rain tastes like, when it slides off the end of your nose.

And you forget what rain sounds like on your window.

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David came home, half an hour later, wild-eyed with excitement.

He'd been caught in a thirty-second cloudburst while driving home -- "Between Lincoln and Webster," he said, "I couldn't even see out the windshield!" -- and he was as keyed-up as a toddler caught in an Oreo Storm.

Compared to the umbrella-decimators of TicTac and Oregon, of course, a thirty-second/three-block cloudburst is the proverbial drop in the rainbucket. We barely had time to run around and close the windows, let alone light the candles/check the flashlight batteries/wax the canoe.

It was over before it began, basically. The "storm" part of it, anyway.

What followed, however, was a very gentle, very soothing rainfall ... like a pulse, a heartbeat, a clock ticking, a modem humming ... lulling me to sleep in spite of myself.

It was the best night's sleep I've had in three months. I felt like a brand-new Secra this morning.

The last thing I remember just before I drifted off, curled next to an already-snoring David? I was pretending that I was laying in the upstairs bedroom of my childhood home, in Seattle ... snuggled under one of Grandma's quilts ... listening to rain falling in the plum tree outside my window.

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Someday in the far-off future ... when David and I are eighty years old, sitting side-by-side in our rocking chairs, listening to Pere Ubu and eating yellow plums and updating our websites on our matching IBM 2500 Intuitive *I-Know-What-You're-Thinking* Pads ... I know that he will still turn to me, every single day, with that infuriatingly smug expression on his face, and say, "See? Didn't I tell you? You picked the perfect place to live."

Comfortable summers. Mild winters. Pleasant autumns. Spectacular springs. Marine layers and Tule fog and Diablo winds, to keep things interesting.

And the occasional rain ... just when I need it most.

two years ago: potato soup

throw a rock