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The Column

You Can't Stop the Rain
6/22/03

God, if you're listening, and I know you are because that's what you do for a living, you've got to chill with this rain stuff. Sure, it was funny at first. For a while, we were all waking up, looking out the window and thinking, "oh, that's cute, it's raining again." But it's getting old, man. We get the point. It's wet. Move on. At this point, even frogs or locusts would be alright.

It has been raining pretty constantly in most parts of the country, even though it's late June. Which makes sense because winter was two months longer than it should have been. I get the feeling that God overslept, and woke up in March thinking it was still January. By that logic, May was March and June is April - explaining why there have been more washouts this month than premiere season on UPN.

As I've written before, the typical problem with good weather is Ugly Fat Hot Day. That's the first warm day of each year, where everyone, regardless of body-type, wears skimpy clothing. And while some people may enjoy sitting next to a large man on the subway separated by nothing more than a washcloth, I'm not a fan of this practice. Thankfully, as the weather stays nice, people remember who is allowed to wear a tube top and who isn't. That guy on the train definitely isn't.

But this year, we've had one or two good days followed by weeks of cold and rain, making the first nice day of every month Ugly Fat Hot Day. And thus, even when the warm sun feels wonderful against your skin, your eyes are still killing you.

There are some pluses to all this rain. Weathermen must have it pretty easy.

"Today's forecast calls for, I don't know, rain? Back to you, Skip."

There are also a lot of baseball games being rained out, which force doubleheaders, a practice that has been all but lost in the last 10 years. And there is nothing I enjoy more than spending the day at a ballpark, watching two games - in the rain.

Of course, I can't afford to go to the ballpark anymore because of the rising price of my laundry. I'm used to washing t-shirts and shorts this time of year. Do you have any idea how expensive it is to wash jeans, t-shirts, sweaters, and soaking wet socks? I do, because I've been doing it for the last eight months.

The worst side effect of this whole thing is how easy it has become to initiate a conversation. My ability to approach anyone and start talking used to give me an advantage, but now that's been neutralized. What good is being able to crack a clever joke about any situation when some clod with an umbrella can do just as well with, "what's with this weather?"

Last spring, New York had a drought. The drought was so bad that lawns were left unsprinkled, sidewalks were not hosed down, and diners made you specifically ask for water. This year, lawns don't need to be sprinkled, sidewalks don't need to be hosed down, and the diners are pushing water like it's yesterday's meatloaf.

"The soup today is split pea, and our special is roasted chicken. But you should really try the water. It's only in season for another two months."

With all this rain, it is no wonder that the world is in such disarray. Rain has been known to cause depression, a word that can also describe our current financial problems. We're also dealing with new diseases, wars, and rising unemployment. And that last one leads to a an increase in the number of people who move back in with their parents, which can't be good for anyone. Annie told us that the sun will come out tomorrow. But that's a hard to believe when the forecast has been calling for rain since March. Especially for those of us who can no longer afford to bet our bottom dollar (see wallet, mine). It's appropriate that the phrase most commonly used to describe global tensions is "world climate." Because today's forecast calls for, I don't know, rain?

I do not write this to depress anyone - I'm just saying that it would be a lot easier to deal with everything around us if we could do it from the beach or a park or even walking to work without an umbrella. Spring is my favorite season, and it hasn't happened yet this year. The thing that worries me most is that we won't even have a late spring - we'll just skip it entirely. It's supposed to be 90 degrees in much of the country next week. 90! But that's alright - it will probably rain again next weekend.

Back to you, Skip.

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