Tuesday, February 05, 2008

My Local Forecast

Weather.com told me it was cloudy and would stay that way for the next hour or so. I asked Chienne if she wanted to go for a walk this morning and watched her start to prance in happy anticipation. So I smiled and went to fetch shoes and socks. I left my jacket at home, knowing the heat and humidity rendered it unnecessary. But as soon as I stepped from my driveway to the street, I pulled off my glasses to clear the sprinkles of water from the lenses. I informed my dog that it was raining, but she - though terrified of thunder - tugged me along in a sign of her willingness to cope with the sprinkling rain.

It was pleasant at first. I like gray days with ominous clouds and gentle storms. Plus, Chienne was nervous enough to move along at a brisk pace, not forcing me to tug her away from an interesting smell or wait while she looked around. But as we turned the first corner to make our loop, I realized wiping my glasses on my shirt was becoming useless - both cotton and slightly-scratched plastic were soaked.

“This,” I informed the hound as she glanced back at me through eyes squinted against an increasingly impressive rain, “is not cloudy. This is rain.” She turned and continued her trot toward home, pulling me around the next two corners in quick succession as we climbed the last hill before finding our house again. As we hurried up the incline, I nodded to people in cars as they drove by with looks of amusement.

“It said ‘cloudy’ online,” I wanted to tell them. “And it’s really not raining that hard. We’ve just been walking for 20 minutes and when all you have is rain and rain and more rain - even in that short time - it adds up. Soaks your clothes and makes them heavy. Makes glasses useless so they’re carried rather than worn and the world becomes a blur of vague shapes and colors rather than vivid and crisp as seen through my prescription. When rain is all there is, I get wet.”

And when rejection becomes my focus, I get sad. However, today was fine. There really was nothing to dread about it, other than the anticipation of more bad news. I have papers out there that could be rejected, one of them any day now. I have a job I want and it’s getting to be time for Director to be in touch. Or there could be an unexpected strike - like the abstract rejections - that I consider a negligible worry until the awful event actually occurs. But today was standard - I daresay it went well. I had an appointment that was pushed back, but I used the extra time to answer a question with VIMD. I walked into the equipment room right before a group of men claimed it. But since I had it first, I continued my work, coming and going as I pleased, feeling quite smug about the whole thing as they had their meeting around me. I did some work and took care of a couple errands. Then I came home, just over four hours after I left in the morning.

On the drive home, it was sprinkling again. When I got to the largest of the freeways I take, it was raining quite hard and cars stopped completely. I saw that the lanes of traffic were weaving through the remnants of an accident, though the bulk of the two cars had been moved to one side as the police and passengers milled about, assessing the damage through eyes squinted against driving rain. Traffic slowly picked up speed and in a mere 4 miles, the rain ceased completely and there was sunshine.

It’s odd, I decided happily, for I do like a good analogy and this one seemed obvious. Something about the global forecast not meaning much when you’re taking the last step and you’re already soaked from the past 20 minutes of your walk. Or the fact that brightness and warmth is minutes away isn’t so comforting as you stand in blinding rain next to your wreck of a car. All I perceive is my immediate environment. I know I’m down. I wait - not prancing as Chienne does while she waits for me to clip her leash on - but in a resigned mope because things haven’t been going my way lately and I fear more of the same to come.

The only option I see is to keep moving forward and see if things get better. And, if not, bring on more crap so I can deal with it and move toward something good in the future. With that in mind, I focused on my upcoming trip because I am looking forward to it. I’m going to take a couple days to visit my parents and hang out with Little and Smallest Ones. Then I’ll drive further, meeting with friends and former colleagues in a busy schedule that has me prancing with happy anticipation. I miss some of the people I knew in grad school and it turns out that nearly everyone I want to see can make some time for me.

My hope is that going back - remembering how far I’ve come and some of the obstacles that seemed far too daunting in the past - will give me a more global view of my life. And this bit of gloom and doom will, I hope, seem more fleeting and bearable.


Propter Doc said...

On my way to work this morning I walked through hail, rain, snow and sleet. It is now sunny. My local forcast is strange weather.

I hope things look better soon.

Unbalanced Reaction said...

Wet glasses are the worst. I hope things start going better soon.

CharlieAmra said...

I heard there were tornados in your state. I hope you and yours were not affected.

post-doc said...

It's been strange here too. And thanks.

Unbalanced Rxn-
Indeed. And thank you.

The region did see some impressively strong storms, and though Chienne spent the night in the bathtub (which made me smile when the news people would say everyone should be in their "places of safety" because the tub is Chienne's place of safety), I slept through it. And we're just fine.

CJR said...

There was one time when I was staying on the Welsh coast, watching the morning forecast, which stuck a big dark raining cloud right above where we were staying.

A quick look out the window confirmed that there was not a cloud in the crystal blue sky.

Sometimes even the most expert forecasts are 180 degrees wrong.

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