Tuesday, August 19, 2008
(Puddle courtesy of Xetera)
So, there I was on Friday night, sitting on my bed, smoking and reading. I forget what I was reading, but I want it to be known that what I was smoking was perfectly legal. When you read what follows, you might wonder.
It was raining. There had been severe thunderstorm warnings for a few counties in Massachusetts, but ours wasn’t among them. Still, it was coming down at a decent rate.
MY WIFE came into the bedroom. She said, "Why don’t you put on your bathing suit and go run around outside? I’d do it, if I could find my bathing suit."
I rather doubted that last statement, but I had doubted her when she said she’d run naked in the snow in New Hampshire, too - and she did that - so I said nothing. This wasn’t about her, anyway. She was teasing me, I think. Or maybe she was really trying to get me to do something that I had recently said would be fun. She had read my piece about being a kid and playing outside in the rain.
With a smile, she asked, "Do you think you can even find your bathing suit?" She then turned and went back into the living room.
Little did she know that my bathing suit was in plain sight. It was right there on top of my bureau. I had looked for it shortly after receiving such a good response to the "playing in the rain" piece, and I had found it in a drawer with some old softball uniforms. So, I stripped down, put on my baggies, came out of the bedroom, and said:
"See you in a little while!"
I smiled and waved goodbye. She half-smiled, half had this look of "Oh, God, he’s actually going to do it."
I turned and went through the kitchen, then out the back door which leads to the common area shared by ourselves and the upstairs tenants. One of the things that made this lark less likely to be embarrassing was the fact that they were both away on vacation in Latvia. And it was night, too. So, I knew that the likelihood of my being seen by anyone was remote.
I opened the back door and stepped out into the yard. I was truly hoping to get sopping wet, like some big old shaggy dog, but it wasn’t raining as hard as it had been when I was sitting in my room. I sort of stood there on the porch, getting slightly damp, wondering what to do next.
What I did next was to go down into the actual yard and walk around on the grass. It was too dark to see the ground, so I spent much of my time thinking about how hideous it would be if my bare feet came down on a squishy slug. I walked over to the flagstone patio. There was a puddle there. I stepped into it and kicked the water a bit. I started laughing. I hadn’t felt what it was like to kick at a puddle with my bare feet in more than 40 years. It felt nice.
I looked around at the houses on all sides of our yard. There didn’t appear to be anyone in the windows looking down at the extremely white old geezer in his light blue swim trunks.
Despite having splashed the puddle, I still wasn’t very wet overall. So, I decided to find a way to get wetter. There are a number of big trees overhanging our yard. I walked over underneath one, reached up, and grabbed as much of the biggest branch as I was able. I then shook it, hard. For my efforts, I was rewarded with a pretty good shower.
(Thinking back on it, what with it being dark and all, I’m probably lucky I didn’t end up having a nest full of something fall on me. I mean, who knows what might have been there? I could have ended up with a squirrel on top of my head. He might have thought he hit the jackpot, falling out of bed only to land smack on top of the biggest nut in the world. Can skunks climb trees? Who knows what’s up there?)
Anyway, NOW I was wet! I shook another branch and got wetter still, with my luck continuing concerning not getting wildlife on my head. I looked up through the branches at the dark sky.
** CRACK! **
A bolt of lightning lit up the night. I ducked instinctively - like that would do any good. I’m a lot of things, but I’m not fast enough to see lightning and duck out of the way of it. I then realized where I was. I was underneath a big tree, in the middle of a thunderstorm, and I was firmly grasping a big branch of that tree.
Not wishing to replicate Ben Franklin’s experiments with me playing the part of the kite, I let go of the tree limb. I was immediately rewarded with another soaking, except this time I wasn’t expecting it, so it shocked me. Better that shock than the other kind! I skittered back towards the porch as thunder rumbled.
Now I was wondering just where the safest place was to be. The obvious answer was "Inside, you idiot!" Not being one for the obvious, I stood on the porch, leaning on the IRON RAILING.
I let go of the railing, wondering if just standing on a porch with an iron railing was any safer. Now, I was not only wet, I was paranoid. I decided to let discretion be the better part of valor. I went inside the back door.
Of course, there was no need to tell MY WIFE about the lightning. So, I said:
"I came in because I saw a flash of lightning and it scared the shit out of me."
She just shook her head from side-to-side. Then she looked me over, and said, "You’re not very wet."
This was true. Despite shaking the tree branches, I really hadn’t gotten as sopping as I had hoped. My bathing suit was almost completely dry.
She asked, "Why isn’t your bathing suit wet?"
I replied, "I don’t know. Maybe too much of me hangs over it."
I had placed a towel near the kitchen door, to dry myself with upon re-entry. Part of what I wrote about previously had included a paean to the lovely feel of toweling off after a drenching. However, I was only just slightly moist from the chest down, so I gave my head a good rub with the towel, but not much else needed it.
After the cursory drying, we both went into the living room to watch some of the Olympics on TV. There was a lot of swimming going on, so I felt right in the spirit of things, sitting there in my bathing suit.
After a while, MY WIFE (sensibly dressed in a nightgown, and enjoying a large glass of wine) looked bemused. She said, "I think I’m going to go to bed. Are you going to go out in it again?"
"Well, if you do, tell me. That way, if lightning strikes you, I’ll know enough to sweep up the pile of ashes in the yard."
"Thanks. I wouldn’t want to leave behind a mess."
She trundled off to bed. I continued to watch people butterflying and stroking breasts.
A few minutes later, I could hear the rain. That is, it became loud enough to hear over the telecast. This meant it was coming down in buckets. I decided that, since I still had the swim trunks on, I’d go outside again. This time, I’d just stand in the yard, not grabbing onto trees, railings, or anything else that might tempt God to smote me on the spot.
I went out the back door, and down into the yard. I stood in the wet grass – still no slugs, I’m happy to say – and the rain sloshed down all over me. It felt damn good. I pictured myself as being in a Three Stooges comedy, taking a shower in the rain, so I pretended to lather up, rubbing my wet head vigorously. I kind of wished there were another stooge with me, to enjoy this more fully, but MY WIFE was probably sleeping already and there still weren’t any neighbors in the windows. Oh, well. It was still fun. The lightning flashed again, but I had already decided that if God wanted to off me, there was precious little I could do about it, so why worry? I kicked at the big puddle on the flagstones as the thunder made its noise.
I felt like a kid again. It was terrific.
The rain was letting up once more, so I made my way back to the door. I went inside wet as a flounder and happy as a clam. I grabbed the towel and rubbed vigorously, enjoying the texture. A woman from Zimbabwe was celebrating having won a race in the Olympic pool. She was very happy. That made two of us.
Next time it rains, I’m going to help MY WIFE look for her bathing suit. If she wishes, she can take her glass of wine with her, but why should I leave the woman I love high and dry?
Soon, with more better stuff.