Monday, January 7, 2008

The BIG ONE

This weekend California made national news when we got “socked” with a four day rain storm. For those of you living in places where it really rains, we’re talking about a few days of sprinkles and light to moderate rain, enough to send the good people of Los Angeles into hysterics. The natives are the worst. “Four days of rain! Board the windows! Prepare for puddles!” These are the same people that wear scarves when it’s 50 degrees outside, yet laugh in your face when you tell them you are frightened of earthquakes.

Ask anyone in Los Angeles, native or not, what the worst thing about precipitation is, and every single person will tell you that it’s the other drivers on the road. In the rain, people swerve in front of you without signaling. They drive in two lanes at once. They run lights. I’d like to point out that the drivers here do these things whether it’s raining or not. It’s not like we should expect the people of L.A. to suddenly learn how to drive a car just because of a moderate downpour. What is really bothering people who complain about traffic in the rain is that drivers go 20 miles per hour slower. In Los Angeles, this means everyone is driving the speed limit. We all know how irritating that is.

I moonlight as a delivery driver on Sundays, mostly because I enjoy the irony of delivering food with 7 years of college education. Usually people treat me with a kind indifference, but when it rains they actually thank me for my job. “I really appreciate this. Thank you so much,” they tell me as though I had just jumped into a river and saved their drowning dog. My tips increase exponentially depending on the amount of rain, so I like to play along by standing outside for a few minutes just before every delivery to give myself the “freshly deluged” look. Next time I work in the rain I may drag around an oar to make it look like I’m rafting to each house.

There is some validity to this rain paranoia. Just because it hardly rains in Los Angeles, doesn’t mean it never rains. So why aren’t the streets built to dispense rainwater? I hit puddles on Santa Monica last night the size of Lake Erie. There was so much standing water on Robertson that I needed an airboat, not a Daewoo.

And it’s not just the streets. Try walking down the sidewalk without breaking an ankle. The Walk of Fame in Hollywood is tiled, and in the rain it’s the closest thing to ice skating you’ll ever get in Southern California. You’re risking life and limb just to get that snapshot of Weird Al Yankovic’s star. (I’m assuming that if you’re walking in Los Angeles, you’re a tourist.)

Despite the small annoyances, most of us from the Mid-West enjoy a little rain now and then. It is a nice break from the constant sun and warmth. It reminds us of home, even if there is never thunder or lightning. Sure, I get wet when I go outside, but after thirty-two years I’ve learned the finer points of drying myself. So I say bring the rain. I’ll worry about stuff like those silly little earthquakes.

6 comments:

Kristy said...

It rains all the time in Pittsburgh. People still can't drive in it. They suck.

My favorite quote from this blog though: "Next time I work in the rain I may drag around an oar to make it look like I’m rafting to each house."

You totally need to do it and get a picture to entertain the left behind Pittsburgh crew!! (:

meri kuminteri said...

Nathan,

I truly enjoyed reading your blog and totally agree with everything you said. What's rain without the theatrics of thunder and lightning? I miss the Florida downpours that force people to stay indoors and relax. People in LA simply cannot drive and use any excuse to drive even worse. Such wimps!

Anonymous said...

Bad drivers in LA usually come from some other State and are angry because they all thought it would be a better life out here.

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