too many words by laura lemay

o western wind

You may have heard we had some rain last week out here in California. At our house, it was ten inches of rain and 50MPH sustained winds. On hummingbird mountain nearby they had wind gusts at 127MPH before the meter apparently blew down. Big storm. Big one.

When Eric and I got up on Friday morning last week the rain wasn’t so bad but our internet connection was out. So we made the incredibly stupid decision to leave the house and go to work. Because, you know, having access to your email is so much more important than knowing that your house and your pets are safe and dry or having a familiar place to sleep that night.

The day turned out to be full of incredibly stupid decisions. My second stupidest decision was choosing to wear a long wool coat to work, rather than a nylon waterproof rain jacket. My logic at the time went thusly: the wool coat is just so much more attractive than the nylon rain jacket; I only have to go from my car to get coffee and back, and then from my car into my building at work; and I have an umbrella. How wet could I possibly get?

I contemplated that question for a good long while as I sat in my car in the parking lot outside the coffee shop near work, as my car rocked back and forth on its suspension while the wind tried to blow it right over. I was parked four cars away from the door but the rain was coming down so hard I couldn’t actually tell if the coffeeshop was still there. I bravely picked up my umbrella, pushed the car door open and the wind forced it closed again, nearly taking off my fingers. I put down my umbrella, which was now quailing in fear, and had another long contemplative moment. While I contemplated the wind pushed my car another parking space away from the coffeeshop, leaving grooves in the pavement like the rocks in Death Valley. Did I really need coffee that bad? I took a deep breath and kicked my way out into the storm.

So the answer to how wet can one possibly get in a wool coat in a rainstorm is quite wet indeed, and the third stupidest thing I did on friday was wear tennis shoes. When you are dashing across the parking lot in a storm with your wool coat up over your head it is hard to tell that the wide puddle you are about to splash across is actually eight inches deep. And cold. Very cold. Did I mention the cold?

No, actually, I did not need coffee that bad. That was definitely the line right there.

But I got my coffee. And I got to work. Later on, my group went out to lunch. The wool coat was well and thoroughly soaked through after still more trips running to and from the car, and here’s something I never realized: a soaking wet wool coat smells kind of like a big wet dog.

It was such a peachy day.