‘Or so my mother assures me.’
It was so wet out in Vancouver this last trip. So wet that if I had been made of sugar, I would have melted into a Wicked-Witch-style puddle.
Now, you may be thinking, “Gosh, what did you expect? Vancouver, Washington, is in the Pacific Northwest, for heaven’s sakes.” I mean, they have businesses that specialize in moss removal out there.
Well, believe it or not, this is really the first time I’ve encountered classic Pacific Northwest wet — at least the kind of rainy wetness that the area is famous for: steady, unrelenting, unvarying, and mostly sideways.
On most of my other trips, I’ve seen sunny skies. Honest. My Beloved Only Sister has lived out here for more than thirty years, and you can practically bet your bottom dollar that when I visit the sun will come out. I like to think I’m the cause of all this solar energy, but it’s no doubt just dumb luck. Whatever it is, we’ll take it.
But the usual state of weather affairs out there is so consistently wet that everyone pretty much gets used to it. Why, my nieces famously squinted and shrieked, “Too bright, Mommy, too bright!” one sunny spring morning and begged for the curtains to be drawn.
People who live there, my sister included, just kind of walk around in the mist and/or rain with their shoulders shrugged up to their ears. I have yet to see an umbrella. A major concession to the universal damp is to pull one’s hoodie hood to the upward position.
That’s how I’d see the pods of kids in the mornings waiting for the school bus: shrugged into their hoodies, staring at the phones cradled under the “awnings” of their chins. Of course, I had options for my walks. I’d check the weather, then look for a “window” of clear weather. (Or at least a window of not-so-much rain.) Then I’d scamper out for my walk. One day, though, my window closed before I could get back and, if I had indeed been made of sugar, I would have dissolved right down to a nub.
Turns out that everyone in the Pacific Northwest waits for a “window,” then they dash about doing their grocery shopping, dog-walking and whatnot. Of course, at Mom’s place, the population being older, they just stay inside. Mom and I got our exercise by walking the hallways inside instead of the walkways outside. Hey, it was better than nothing — and we got to admire the various and sundry Christmasy-decorated doorways.
To end on one last precipitation-soaked note, I got a surprise the last day I was there. I got up early, as is my wont, and peered out the window to assess the degree of wetness. But hey! There was snow!
But, my feelings of delight (fresh tracks! flinging snowballs!) rapidly turned into forebodings of danger (flight delays! falling!) I guess that’s how you know you’re officially old.
New York City. January 2024