Five and two thirds days of rain just about broke me and the cat both. We had thunder, tornado warnings, friends with flooded streets and temperatures down into the . . . well, much colder than what I’m used to. And isn’t that the measure of comfort for anyone? What they’re used to?
As rare as rain is in Los Angeles, thunder and lightening are even more so. The first time I saw lightening here (and I’ve only seen it twice in 16 years), it had been so long since I experienced the sensation that my first thought during the flash was that someone in the sky must have been taking our picture. I worked in Hollywood at the time so it made perfect sense: we weren’t mere mortals being rained upon; we were subjects of a divine host of paparazzi.
This week after one too many postponed errands, I became a near recluse. If not the dark clouds and the constant drone of rain, then the continuing slew of headlines out of Haiti made it harder and harder to think of a reason to get dressed. Eventually, on the fifth afternoon, I mustered up the energy to walk across Santa Monica Boulevard for Indian food. Warm naan, pinot noir, Alice Walker, it was good to get out.
I couldn’t help but photograph my waiter, as he stood transfixed watching the water slam down. He reminded me of my father when big storms passed through our Maryland suburb. Heavy rains command attention. I never knew what Dad was listening to or watching for. Whatever it was, I loved standing next to him tuning in to the show outside: peaceful and fierce at the same time.
When I left the restaurant, our whole block was without electricity. Even 7-11, the taco place and the money-laundering joint that fronts as a pizza-by-the-slice venue were completely dark. I’ve never seen my street from the exterior without any lights. The closer I walked to my building, the more excited I became.
I hoped that the emergency back ups would be out as well so that I could slink along the walls finding our unit by touch. Andy was inside waiting for me; I’m sure knowing that propelled me forward. Alas, the batteries in the emergency hall lights were charged and working. There would be no Sydney Bristow-Alias-spy fantasy diversion for me unless I created one. And although I was feeling more energetic, I wasn’t about to don a blue wig and go looking for trouble.
At home, Andy had candles lit in every room of our little domain. Within minutes, I sat in pajamas, advancing pawns and sacrificing both bishops. There is no surprise in hearing my dear mate announce, “Check.” I love it every time.