Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Wonder of Rain

I've lived in the Stalag for very nearly forty years now, and my only dissatisfactions are: the State government's War on Productivity and to a much lesser degree, the weather.

Ice Scribe, at her marvelous My Gorram Den, reminds me of something of which we don't have enough in Stalag California. Rain.

Today class, we'll be discussing Southern California weather.

I enjoy the heat. Up to 90 degrees, I'm fine. Over that, and I start to take steps to make myself cooler. The humidity usually isn't too bad, and it usually cools off at night. I live fairly close to the ocean, so we usually get a cooling onshore breeze starting in mid-afternoons on the hot days.

Unlike most, I like the Santa Ana winds. I like wind moving the trees about and making it a little noisy. I like the dry heat that gives a dessicating effect to everything. I like the clear air and the open sky at night.

The bad part of Santa Ana wind is that my inland neighbors have a serious threat of fire when it's so dry, but my counter to that is that if everyone responsibly took care of his property, especially including the federal, state and local government agencies, who should either manage their lands properly or sell them off to someone who will, and if the environmental nazis would butt out, serious firebreaks could be cut that would minimise the danger of wildfires to property and structures.

What I really miss here in the Stalag is rain. It doesn't rain much. When it does rain, usually it's from a light drizzle to a light rain. You can walk around in it wearing a windbreaker and a hat, and not get very wet. For an hour, often more. It rains so seldom that when it actually does, people are totally upset by it.

The news goes on "Storm Watch" when there's a quarter-inch of light rain. News teams go out to potential trouble spots to watch for landslides and floods. Outdoor activities are cancelled. The streets and freeways are filled with cars whose drivers, in full panic mode, either drive so slowly that they're dangerous or try to drive as if it isn't raining--seventy-five mph with a cell phone in one hand to their ear.

Rarely, oh so rarely, it really does rain. I live for those days, maybe one or two a year. The windshield wipers can't keep up with it. Storm drains get clogged and water collects between the curbs. Water stands in poorly graded areas of the freeways, and runs across in curve transitions. Occasionally, a BMW is smashed into the center divider, the driver having allowed his car to hydroplane off the road. That's him, still talking on his phone.

I love those kinds of storms! I love the noise; the violence!

Ok, I feel a little sympathy for those in areas of flooding and landslides caused by the rain, but they chose to live where they live, and ought to have assessed, accepted and planned for the possible problems--just like beach people do.

A major handicap that many of us suffer, is that local, state and federal government hold a great deal of land all around us--parks, streets, buildings and land preserves of various types--which they are woefilly negligent at securing and controlling--that impact nearby private property owners. Government accepts no responsibility nor allows any private action on government property as it impacts their own.

But that's not my topic for today.

I miss the rain.

I like to drive in the rain. Real rain, not the normal Southern California sun showers. Not late night and early mornong mist. Rain! The kind that ricochets off the pavement. The kind that fills gutters and that you can hear drumming on the roof. Sometimes, I put on a trenchcoat and hat and walk in it. There's no one else there.

I like to lie in bed and see the flash of lightning in the window; listen to the thunder that follows. On a couple of occasions, I've ridden a motorcycle in such a rain, though it's hard to see and pretty dangerous.

We get maybe one good rain a year here, and it usually doesn't last very long. I think that if we get one this year, I'll drop whatever I'm doing and just enjoy it.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

1 comment:

? said...

very interesting.

I didn't know that it hardly rained very much in your neck of the woods. I'm just a couple of hours north of you and we get quit a bit of "storms" here.

There was a song by and r&b group that came out when i was a young teen called, "It Never Rains In Southern California"...haha, i had no idea it was pretty close to truth.