Tag Archives: rain

I don’t know if I’m going to make it

It’s been raining here for the past few days. I don’t know, maybe it hasn’t been that long, but it feels like I haven’t seen the sun in forever. This doesn’t happen that often, and so it’s really starting to mess with my head. I can think back, every once in a while we’ll get a stretch of like a week or a week and a half where it’s nothing but clouds and rain and gloom. And I don’t know how people in Seattle or Ireland cope, because, like I said, it’s only been maybe three days, but I’m feeling like I’m ready to give up.

I can’t get up in the morning. I never really want to get up in the morning, but most days I’ll just do it, I’ll hear the alarm clock going off, I’ll roll over, and I’ll get out of bed. But the past couple of days, it’s like I don’t even have any recollection of having been woken up. And my alarms are all set. So it’s like, I must be getting up while I’m still asleep, taking one look out the window, making a mental note of the pouring rain, and then turning the alarm off and going back to sleep for another two or three hours.

And then I get up and I’m all groggy, which makes the day not that productive. And then my dog doesn’t want to go for a walk. I can never get him to really do what he needs to do when it’s raining out. Usually I get up in the morning and he’s sitting at the foot of the stairs, his tail wagging so fast that it’s making a really loud thwap thwap against the wall.

But when it’s raining, he doesn’t even want to get off the couch. He curls up into this ball, and I have to drag him by the collar to the front door so I can put his leash on. I open the door and he fights it the whole time. I want to be like, come on man, I don’t want to go for a walk out in the rain either. But you have to do your business. That’s how this works. You can only hold it in for so long.

We’re outside and he’s just not interested in taking care of any business. He has his tail in between his legs and he’s constantly pulling his chain, trying futilely to will himself back to the house. And when we finally get back, after him not having done anything, he runs inside and shakes off. His stomach probably hurts so he won’t eat any breakfast.

And it’s the same for me. I’ve been out of milk and breakfast stuff for a whole week now. And every day I say to myself, nah, I don’t feel like going outside again. I’ll just wait until tomorrow, until this rain clears. But it just keeps raining. And the more I put off getting food, the more lethargic I’m becoming, making it even less likely that I’ll ever actually walk the three or four blocks to the grocery store.

It’s got to break soon, we need this to stop. My sleep schedule is becoming irreparably damaged. I guess I shouldn’t complain. Three or four days of rain isn’t really a big deal, especially with all of the droughts I keep hearing about out west. So I guess it’s all a matter of perspective.

Still, my feet have been wet for almost a week now. The basement is starting to get that wet smell. I don’t know how much longer I can take. I need to buy like a heat lamp or something, or a tanning bed. I think I’m getting vitamin D deficiency. I think that when the sun finally comes back, I’m going to be blinded, like my eyes and my skin have already adapted to a bleak, sunless future. I just … I don’t know if I’m going to make it.

Stuck underground without any money for a ride

A while back I got caught in a thunderstorm, I ran down into the nearest subway station and figured I’d just call it a day, head home. But it was bad luck, poor placement and worse timing, I was something like twenty-three cents short for a single ride, and the only two Metrocard machines in the station had the same big handwritten signs taped to the front, “cash only.”


I didn’t have any cash and, since I was relatively dry, I couldn’t imagine taking my chances outside, running the five or six blocks for the next station. The downpour had driven in a steady stream of likeminded people, and so I figured, I don’t have a choice, I’m going to have to ask somebody for a swipe.

I mean, I’m not one to beg for change, but it’s not like I didn’t have the money, I had it, it was just somewhere else, not in my pocket. And besides, I’ve seen people ask for swipes before, I’ve even given them out. Wasn’t it about time that I cashed in on some very minor subterranean cosmic karma?

“Excuse me,” I stood by the turnstile and started addressing the line, not anybody in particular, but just kind of directly ahead, “I’m stuck, the machine’s not working, can anybody give me a swipe?”

And whatever, I wasn’t expecting everyone in the city to just stop what they were doing to give me their attention, but I was kind of hoping that maybe one person might, maybe one or two, and like right away, like come on, I’m stuck here, you can’t help somebody else get on the train?

But nobody, I asked one time, and nobody even so much as looked. So I got all self-conscious, like do I ask again? Do I say the same exact thing? Or should I let the line advance a little more so I’m not repeating the same questions to the same people? I fell into a pattern, it was like every twenty-five seconds or so, I’d ask another five to ten people, and my requests got shorter, “Excuse me? Do you have an extra swipe?”

The best that I got was some lady who at least acknowledged my problem, she looked at me, not really sympathetically, and she said, “It’s unlimited,” referring to her Metrocard, “They’re all unlimited.” And yeah, I hadn’t thought about that, those unlimited cards make it impossible to swipe more than once in something like a fifteen-minute period. But come on, somebody had to have a regular card, I always kept a regular card, someone had to have a swipe.

But just as I was getting ready to ask the fifth or sixth group of people, I heard a man’s voice right behind me, “You!” he said. I turned around, it was a cop, he was pointing at me. “I’m sorry, do you have me confused with someone else?” and he continued, “Oh no, no, no, it’s you all right, you think I wouldn’t forget? That you’d get away with it?”

And I seriously had no idea what he was talking about, but he started getting closer, “Two summers ago, you hopped the turnstile, you thought you got away,” and I totally remembered. This was impossible. Two summers ago, yes, I was out for a long run, when out of nowhere the sky turned pitch black and started pouring. Look, I’m fine with running in a little rain, even a downpour, it’s like, what am I going to do? I’m already soaked from sweat, there’s no sense in stopping now.

But this storm, there was loud thunder, I saw a building two blocks in front of me take a direct hit from a bolt of lightning. That crack, that deafening thoom that I felt vibrate throughout my entire body, yeah, I guess I got a little spooked. I sprinted toward the nearest subway station.

When I got inside, I had no money, I didn’t have anything on me except for my keys, but I was all hopped up on adrenaline, there was a massive throng of bodies all trying to escape mother nature, and so, I wasn’t even thinking, I just acted, I kept running and I jumped right over the turnstile. It was much easier than I expected, but no sooner had I made it to the other side, I heard, “You!” it was a cop. They’re pretty strict about fare enforcement, I think the fine is something like over a hundred bucks, and so I saw this guy and I made a run for it.

Again, I wasn’t thinking. The platform has a finite amount of room, and this guy was on my tail. But, it was unbelievable, my luck, there was a train idling in the station with its doors open. I ran down a few cars, and right before the bell went off to signal their imminent closing, I slipped inside, I made it. Then I got cocky, the train started pulling away, and I gave a little shit-eating grin, a slight wave to the cop still on the other side of those doors.

And now here I was face to face with that same officer, I couldn’t believe he remembered me. Was he that consumed by my getting away? He remembered my face after all this time? I tried to fake my way out, “Hey officer, I think you’ve got the wrong guy,” but he wasn’t buying it. I abruptly changed course, “Listen, I’m not doing anything wrong here, what’s the problem?”

“Oh yeah? What are you a lawyer?” he was even closer, “No panhandling on the subway.” Was he going to take me in? Was this going to be something on my record, like I’d have to explain it every time I filled out a job application or applied for a loan? No, I thought, , it worked before, I can only hope that it works again.

And so I jumped the turnstile. But this time I didn’t make it across. The tip of my foot got caught on the pole and I face-planted right to the cement floor. My nose was bleeding, I chipped one of my front teeth. And nobody even really stopped, they just kept walking around me, that ceaseless line of bodies escaping the rain and heading for the train.

But it was bad, there was a significant amount of blood, even the cop started to feel sorry for me. “Just … just get the hell out of here. Just cut the shit, all right?” and that was it, he let me go. So yeah, another free subway ride, but now I had to find a dentist, I had to clean up. I’d have much rather just been wet, not this, bruised, caked in blood, humiliated.

Stuck in a downpour on some street in the city

It rained the other day for maybe twenty minutes, but it was a hard rain, it came out of nowhere. The sky was blue in the morning, it was blue all the way through lunchtime, but at around one or one thirty, all of the sudden it started getting black, really dark. I didn’t know what to do, because I had my bike with me, and so it’s always this dilemma, do I chain it up and make a break for the subway? Should I attempt taking it with me underground? Or might I even feel desperate enough to try and bike through the storm, to tough it out for the four or so miles back to my house?


I didn’t have any time to think either, because once the rain started, it was pouring. There was no gradual build up, like usually you might feel a few drops here and there, something that eventually turns into a steady sprinkling. No, this was like a light switch, off to on in an instant. I was already twenty-five percent soaked, and while I briefly considered chalking it up as a loss, I worried about the cell phone in my pocket, what if the intensity of this downpour was enough to breach the waterproof properties of my backpack?

My decision was to find some coffee shop or deli to duck into for a few minutes, to stay dry while simultaneously thinking through a next step. But where specifically could I go? The coffee shop and deli ideas didn’t really appeal to me. For one thing, I’m sure everybody else on the street was having the same thought, and so I’d be fighting the crowd just to get inside.

And if I made it in, then what? I could just picture the people behind the counter at either of those locations, all of them thinking, “Here we go, lots of customers, time to move here.” But nobody really wants anything to eat or drink, we’d all just be seeking refuge, maybe pretending to look at the menu, “Give me another minute, please,” acting like paying customers, finally some manager or owner making a loud announcement, “Look, this isn’t a shelter, it’s a business. Buy something or leave.”

It came to me, the giant bookstore was only a few blocks down. That would be perfect. I could pretend to read books, or I didn’t even have to pretend, the employees there don’t care if you’re spending money or not. I started to run but there were obstacles everywhere, all of the sudden everyone had an umbrella out.

And this I never understand. How is it that everyone in the world is so prepared for an unexpected downpour except for me? Where are people keeping these umbrellas? Because I never notice them when it’s not raining, like if there’s a stretch of five days in a row without so much as a drop, you’d think I’d see umbrellas sticking out of bags or people holding umbrellas. Have you ever seen city umbrellas? They’re huge. It’s like we’re all so used to everything small, small apartments, small portions, virtually no personal space everywhere, but then it starts to rain and there’s a mass protest, “I don’t care if there’s not enough room for everyone in this city to carry a giant four-foot diameter umbrella, I’m doing it, you get out of my way.”

All of the umbrella spokes are exactly at my eye level, and so I wasn’t only trying to beat the rain, but I was attempting to avoid having anything gouged out. Where do you even buy a giant umbrella anyway? The only ones I ever see are the cheap-o black plastic kind, the ones that, even if you’re using them, you’re still getting wet. Depending on how you hold it, either your back’s dry, or your front, but not both. I always thought, that’s the price we pay for living in a city, right? We can’t all have giant umbrellas. There’s simply not enough space on the streets.

I finally made it to the bookstore and the usually vacant looking security guard standing out front put his hand up, “Sorry boss,” he told me, “You’re soaking wet.”

“Exactly!” I protested, “That’s why I’m trying to get inside.”

“No can do,” he wasn’t even looking at me, he was still blankly staring across the street, keeping his eyes open for potential shoplifters I guess, “You’ll get all of the books wet. It’s not going to happen.”

“What do you care?” I was getting pissed off now, “I could spend all day in this bookstore reading every single book on the shelf for free. Talk about wasting money. But now you’re worried that I might wet a page or two? What kind of a business model is that?”

It was a pointless argument. I was already soaked. I figured that I might as well make the ride home, I couldn’t get any wetter. By the way, I was wrong, I could get wetter, so wet that it felt like my sneakers had become supersaturated, each step a dramatic slosh-slosh sound.

I came back to that same bookstore the next day and made it a point to collect a huge stack of books. Then I went right by the entrance and sat Indian style while I pretended to read every book, licking my finger each time I turned the page. But the guard didn’t even look my way, not even once, even though I kept coughing, a big, fake, “Cough! Cough!” sound. And I was too busy paying attention to the security guard that I didn’t even get to really enjoy any of the reading. I was just pretend reading really. What a waste of a day. What a waste of two days, if you count the first day that I spent just totally getting absolutely soaked to the core.

Another true story

Last week I got caught in the rain coming out of work. I didn’t want to get soaked, so I ducked into a bar and sat down to order a drink. It was still somewhat early in the afternoon, and I didn’t want to get drunk right away, but the rain didn’t let up, and I could only nurse my pint of beer for so long. I ordered another. By the third glass I couldn’t really make sense of my magazine anymore so I put it away and took a look around.

The bar was basically empty, save the half dozen or so people that were already well on their way before I stepped foot inside. Outside the sky was black and the streets were empty. I would have thought there’d be more of a crowd, especially considering the rain. I mean, that’s what drove me inside. But everyone else must have made a beeline to the subway. Maybe they all knew something I didn’t. Maybe the rain wasn’t ever going to let up.

I considered taking out my iPhone to do one of those weather checks, but the same inability to focus on my magazine made finding the right app similarly difficult. I put my phone away and thought about a next move. Should I go? The rain was coming down harder than ever. There was a little puddle of water accumulating by the entrance, seeping in through the crack under the front door. I figured, well, I’m already three, four drinks in. This night’s basically over already. I might as well ride it out here. No sense in getting unnecessarily soaked.

“I’ll take another beer,” I had to grab the bartender’s attention because, like I said, the place was all but empty, and he was busy watching the TV at the other end of the bar. “I don’t think this rain’s ever going to stop.”

Who said that? Was it the bartender? He had his back to me, filling up a clean glass. “Yeah it’s coming down pretty hard,” I responded, staring straight ahead.

“Rain like this, it makes you think about all sorts of dark stuff, about life, about the end of the world.”

It wasn’t the bartender. It was this old guy three stools down from me. I hadn’t even considered his presence until now. I had this feeling, I always get this feeling when I’m by myself and someone starts talking to me, someone I don’t know, it’s like a wall goes up, like come on man, leave me alone, I don’t feel like having an interaction right now.

But I’ve had this reaction for so long, so automatically, that a lot of the time I can recognize it as just that, a reaction. And so I get it, that wall, and I make a choice whether or not I want to get past it. I looked toward my magazine, as incomprehensible as it was ten minutes ago. My phone only had like twenty percent of its battery left.

Sure, why not, I’ll indulge this old timer in a little conversation.

“What do you mean?” I asked him, even though I knew exactly what he meant, “It’s got to rain some time. We need it, right?”

And he didn’t look at me, he didn’t look up from his drink, whatever it was he was drinking, a rocks glass, probably whiskey, he started in on this speech, I wondered if he was ever really talking to me in the first place, or maybe he was just talking to talk, to himself, to nobody.

“I know you can’t tell to look at me as I am now, but I used to be a productive member of society. A doctor. A physician.”

I didn’t know if I should reply or not. Really. What kind of doctor? Something like that. But he wasn’t looking up and I didn’t really feel like I had to say anything. He went on.

“One day a young man came into my office. He was complaining about his leg. Apparently he fell off his bike and worried that he might have broken something. He could still walk, not really a walk, but a hobble, he hopped into my office, he couldn’t put any weight on it. I said, all right, let’s get some x-rays and see if we can’t see what’s the matter. We sent him to radiography and twenty minutes or so later I had the results. I couldn’t make sense of them. I wondered, is the machine acting up? Did the technician make some sort of a mistake? Because nothing was where it should have been. Everything was wrong, off. And I looked closer, I looked at his leg, at his bad leg, and I tried comparing it to his good leg. The good leg, well, it looked like a leg, they both looked like legs, like my leg or your leg, but on the inside … I don’t know. The bad leg, something was definitely off.

“And even though I couldn’t figure out what was going on, I could make out right under his thigh what I though was an unusual looking growth. Was it some sort of cancer? Could this explain what was wrong on a more systematic level with his whole body? I had no idea, but I figured I might as well send him in for a biopsy.

“Well, you wouldn’t believe it, but that growth wasn’t a growth at all. It was a little capsule. The young man was just as alarmed as I was, but I didn’t want to scare him any further, so I sat up a little straighter and pretended to act like this was all within the realm of my expertise. I looked the capsule over in my hand and … and I don’t know exactly what I did to activate it, but the top opened up, like a little cigar case. Inside was a tiny scroll of paper, it was a hand-written note. It read:

If you are reading this note, you’ve realized by now that this young man is not a young man at all; rather, he is a highly sophisticated robot. I built him years ago to take care of my day-to-day work so that I might have more time to pursue my scientific experiments while at the same time saving a couple of hours each day for some necessary leisure activities. If this robot is in any way damaged, please look under the other leg for detailed schematics on how to fix him. Whatever you do, I urge you not to let him know that he’s a robot. I’m not sure if his positronic brain would be able to handle the shock.

“And that’s when I stopped. I had been reading that note out loud, and just as I got to the end, I could tell something was happening. It was like he was having a seizure. He twitched around for a little bit before collapsing. My nurse and I tried everything, but we couldn’t revive him. It was over. He was dead.”

The bartender wasn’t paying any attention and the old guy hadn’t looked up from his drink. I settled up, apparently I’d had six drinks, not four, and I wondered if there were any buy-backs I also didn’t know about. “Hey man, I’m sorry about that whole robot thing,” I said to the old guy as I got up to leave. I was out the door, the rain was just as heavy as it was an hour ago, one of those rains where, without an umbrella, I was soaked to the core within a minute.

Biking in the rain

I just got caught in the rain, big time. It’s one of these weeks where it’s raining every day, and if it’s not raining, it’s constantly just about to rain, the sky is gray and the wind is blowing, it’s an ever-present threat. And I guess it’s good, you know, for the environment, for my garden. Every day I try to make a point to go outside and hose down the plants, but even when I do it, I’m probably not out there for as long as I should be. I keep meaning to buy a sprinkler, but it’s been so rainy lately that, one, I don’t really have to, because nature is taking care of it, and two, I don’t want to leave the house unless I really have to, because it’s so gross out.

So today I went to meet one of my friends downtown for lunch. The sky was cloudy but for some reason I was optimistic, like come on, it already rained yesterday and the day before. Today is going to be different. I rode my bike. I love riding my bike. I always know exactly how long it’s going to take me to get anywhere. I don’t have to worry about the subway being late or not paying attention and missing my stop.

And it was fine, I made it downtown fine. But after lunch I headed out to bike back home and it was starting to rain, just a misting so far, so I was like, OK, I better book it before I get wet. And that was stupid, because I started getting wet immediately. A lot of the time I’ll travel with this emergency biking-in-the-rain outfit, some waterproof pants, a couple of plastic bags to wrap around my backpack. But I didn’t have anything with me today.

Still, I should have just gotten off of my bike and taken the subway. It’s totally acceptable to bring your bike on the train. But it’s just such a pain in the ass. First of all, if it’s raining out, everybody’s going to be looking for shelter underground. Time to get off the streets and get back inside. And so the normally crowded subway system gets even more crowded. And I have my bike with me. Do you know how difficult that is, trying to maneuver not just yourself, but also a huge bike through a crowd of wet people?

It’s like, what’s the correct way to get your bicycle through the turnstile? I have no idea, so I just pick it up and kind of shove it through which, depending on my angle, depending on how many people are simultaneously trying to come and go, it might work or it might not. It might get stuck, and then I’m causing a little traffic jam, and then people start yelling things, not the people immediately behind or in front of me, no, that would be a little too confrontational. But the people two or three back, safe enough to lob whatever insults they want without any fear of repercussion or altercation. They’re like, “Move your bike asshole!”

And also, whenever it’s really wet out, I have such a hard time getting my Metrocard out of my wallet. For anybody not familiar with the New York City subway, the Metrocard is a credit card shaped piece of plastic that holds money for passage. I don’t know if I’m the only one who experiences this problem, because I’ve never even really consciously thought about it until I started writing this out, but it’s impossible to get a grip on it when it’s wet. And my wallet, it’s like I need to use the tips of my fingers to pull the card out. And I can’t. And I have my bike. I’m just standing there at the turnstile, “Let’s move it jerkoff!” shouted at me from every direction.

Getting the bike on the train, it shouldn’t be a problem, but again, when it’s raining, the platforms are jam-packed. So even when the train eventually arrives, what am I supposed to do, push people out of the way so I can take up three spots, one for me and two for my bicycle? Everybody’s crammed in, wet, cold, and they see me standing there occupying all that space, I can just hear them screaming in their heads, “Way to go, jerk!”

So I toughed it out and rode my bike in the rain. It didn’t let up until I was like three quarters of the way home, but even if it’s not directly raining, all you need to make the ride really inconvenient is a layer of rain on the street. Your tires will constantly splash it up along your back, in your face, soaking your feet from underneath. It’s not pleasant. But whatever, I’m home. I have to leave for work in like half an hour. I guess I’ll bike, because if I wanted to take the train, I should have left like five minutes ago.