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January 20th, 2010

Crazy in the Rain

When it rains the way it has been lately, it tends to alter my judgment. Why, just yesterday I decided that it would be a good idea to ruin my running shoes by slogging through the neighborhood as water dumped from the heavens. Well, not ruin. More like render them unusable for several days. A few days ago, I would have just plunked them in the dryer. Unfortunately, however, last time I did laundry, I found a spider the size of a wall clock hiding in the warm dryer and had to wait for Paul to return home and retrieve the clothes for me. (In the meantime I froze the thing to death with an upside-down can of compressed air. I’m a brutal murderer, I won’t deny it.) Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that when it rains, I get a little batty.

As a child, I was no different. My parents’ street is basically a hill that ends in a cul-de-sac containing a large storm drain. That’s a good thing, because during heavy rainfall the side of the street becomes a small, rushing river, which sends down a lot of debris. At the first sign of the “river,” I’d be running around the house, putting on a coat and my rain boots, so I could go outside and send things floating down to the storm drain. We’d build dams, have “boat” races and sometimes, we’d just stand in the middle of the water, like idiots, smiling and yelling.

On occasion, we’d make it all the way down to the end of the cul-de-sac where, if things were really going well precipitation-wise, the street became almost a lake. It was pretty exciting, what with all the mud and collected sticks and branches and old Doritos bags and unidentifiable crap strewn around everywhere. And, oh yeah, also the storm drain.

The storm drain was well secured. The first line of defense was a chain link fence. After that, the drain itself was covered with a grate designed to keep out huge tree branches and stunned dogs. Here is where my judgment becomes water-logged and altered: Because of these built-in safety precautions, my brother Louis and I thought it would be a good idea to crawl under the chain link and stand around in the swirling water. Mud, leaves, sticks and other flotsam bonked us in the shins. Brown water poured into our boots. There was a lot of clinging to the fence and screaming about what a horrible typhoon we were caught in and how we’d probably be drowned soon.

We were just pretending to be afraid that we’d drown. The cops that showed up actually wer afraid that we’d drown.

In retrospect I understand that whichever nervous neighbor called the fuzz was just trying to protect us, but hoooooooo boy were we miffed. There was a GRATE. The water wasn’t even that strong. We were FINE! We could both swim! You could grab the FENCE even! … And other heartfelt, pathetic-sounding protests.

Kids, the lesson here is that if you’re going to play in the storm drain at the end of a flooding cul-de-sac during an El NiƱo year, make sure you do it on a moonless night under cover of darkness.

Enjoy the rain!

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