June 25, 2011 in Washington Voices

Scarce sun could be alien plot

By The Spokesman-Review
 

On June 9, Stefanie Pettit wrote a column in this space, in which she touted her enjoyment of our continuing rainy weather. As I read it, while sullenly noting the dark rainy morning outside, I began wondering if Stefanie actually was an alien being. An alien whose amphibious race was seeding clouds to break our morale before conquering us and turning the Northwest into a comfy swamp habitat for themselves. You know, I can admire chutzpah, even alien chutzpah. As long as there’s no To Serve Man cookbook involved.

After speculating about Swamp Things for a while, though, I accepted the fact that Stefanie likes the rain and the rest of us are just whiners.

It’s said that everything and everyone has their opposite, even within themselves (for example, Paul Revere riding to warn both the Americans AND the British). And make no mistake: the rain and sun camps have had a lot to be divided about this year.

I’m perfectly happy for those who like the rain, but they’ve had about 600 days in the last four months to enjoy it, and we sun lovers deserve our turn. I’m getting to the point of feeling that one more rainy day will drive me beyond even cursory civility.

Stefanie told a charming story about being in a hurricane storm in which, like a damp Moses, she blazed her own trail off the freeway, leading those behind her right to a dry and warm motel. Dang, I don’t have a great rain story like that. I do have two, though they’re rather offbeat, with no heroics involved.

One took place during a summer monsoon in Southern California, when I worked for a thrifty mission group as graphic artist and writer. When a transformer burst, a couple of maddeningly ingenious people snaked long power cords to the few working outlets, and I spent the afternoon typing on my IBM Selectric in a dark room by candlelight. I swear I’m not making this up.

The second incident happened during my childhood. Our yard was bordered by a lot of ivy, which harbored a thriving snail population. My mother valiantly but vainly fought these pests. During one rainstorm, snails festooned the lawn and walkways as far as the eye could see. Mom sort of got some crazy on (or perhaps she’d had a few too many). She dashed out into the rain with a heavy shovel and began dancing around smashing snails, crying, “Take that!” Wham! “And THAT!” What a “wow” moment for a child to see Mom lose it like that. Word must have slimed out about the Great Snail Massacre, because we never had a snail problem again.

As I write, rain is pounding on our skylight in a gloomy tattoo. Good times.

I’m longing to laze about in my gravity chair on the patio in my wide-brimmed hat, surrounded by pots bursting with petunias. I keep reading promises of a summer that’s to be warmer and drier than usual, but so far this seems like a fantasy always just out of reach.

I want the sun and I want it now.

However, I’m keeping watch on the clouds for any signs of alien activity. And I’m scanning the populace for anyone sporting gills.

Just in case.

You can reach Deborah Chan by email at tabbytoes@comcast.net.

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