Monday, November 20, 2006

Not As Bad As It Looks

In the fall, it rains a lot in Seattle. And this fall, given that we’ve already set a record for the rainiest November ever, it rains a lot for a place that rains a lot.

Consequently, in addition to spending lots of time out in the liquid sunshine, I also spend lots of time preparing to go out in it. This involves putting on my gear—wool and/or or “breathable” plastic depending on how wet it is—but also getting myself into gear to face the wet.

If it’s morning, this will typically involve trying to gauge how hard it’s raining from the pitter-pat on the roof; if it’s evening, I’ll probably be squinting at the streetlamp down the block in an attempt to determine the direction and intensity of the downpour. In any case, I’ll have to balance how badly I think I need to go out with how uncomfortable I think I’ll feel once I’m out there.

While this calculation is far from exact, one thing I have discovered this season is that most of the time, it looks much worse than it is. Once you get out in them, the conditions that looked miserable from the living room or porch are not nearly so bad as they appeared.

And even if they are truly lousy, the awfulness generally doesn’t last as long as expected.

Today, for instance, as I stood under the building’s eves preparing to leave Cascadia, the rain seemed torrential. I braced, as I began pedaling home, for a chilly, sodden commute.

In fact, though, it was really only dismal for a mile or so, and within twenty minutes of leaving campus, the rain had stopped completely.

I’m sure there’s a lesson in here somewhere; I can’t tell though, whether it’s that we shouldn’t let our fears about what might be prevent us from doing things or that once we’re doing something, we can put up with much more than we anticipated.


Blogger Andrew Davidson said...

Dave, I was thinking of you yesterday as you were contemplating your ride home.

I had a meeting in Magnuson Park in the afternoon and I rode my bike up there after lunch. The day had been so beautiful that I was regretting that the meeting hadn't been in the morning. As I headed north, there were light sprinkles alternating with big blue sky patches. When I got up near Sand Point, there was a fantastic rainbow over the lake, but I could feel in the air there was rain on the way.

And when I came out of my meeting, it was definitely drenching, so on comes the rain gear which, being only an occaisional commuting rider, I don't normally carry but was glad I had this time.

The ride back down the B-G Trail was very soggy but the only part of me that was uncomfortable was my feet, because I had forgotten the waterproof boots.

After an errrand and coffee stop in the U, I decided to cheat and jumped on the 48 bus to go the rest of the way home.

But I felt a little bit of dashap virtuous having been an intrepid bicylist for a day. And what a treat it was having a client with an office right off the bike trail! How good is that?

6:40 AM  
Anonymous Alberto said...

I don’t know but you somehow reminded me of Machado’s Juan de Mairena just now.

12:10 PM  

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