It rains – standard for my life in the Netherlands but revelatory in California. Last year San Francisco never received its winter rains, prolonging the drought and crushing faltering ski resorts. A local sporting goods store offered 20% off all goods until the first rain of the season.
The winter rains begin this year on schedule and typically last until March. California rain means neither monsoon nor torrential downpour – just a marked departure from the typical sun.
The rain bangs rhythmically on my tin awning. This sound prompted panic when I worked, as rain ruins all forms of Bay Area transportation. In rain, Californians leap en masse into their cars to hurtle them unpredictably all over the roads. Traffic snarls earlier and lasts longer. That sound of rain drumming on my awning meant three hours of commuting for the wet day, quite the torture for a job.
Or I would put on a waterproof jacket and waterproof pants to bicycle in the wet to the train station. My poor shoes were not waterproof so I might spend the day at my desk in soggy socks. Fortunately, the train car emptied of bicycles on wet days. Unfortunately, biking in the rain became even more dangerous because of the aforementioned angry Californians in traffic jams.
Rain caused so much commuter agony. Now I just sleep to its pleasant tympani.