My people initially came from Greece. My grandparents were born in villages near Thessaloniki and they emmigrated to the United States in the 1920s. There’s a very involved history I could go into here, but I don’t think we know one another that well yet. That’s a post for another day. Let’s say that I’m Greek on both sides. As I tell my students, “My mother is 100% Greek and my father is 100% Greek, so I’m 200% Greek.” My students usually groan and say that’s not possible and we laugh.
Some members of the family were smart and moved to San Diego. That was not my part of the village. My part of the family tree went to Detroit and Chicago or as they are also known, cold and colder. Not having any say in the first move of my life, from Detroit to a little town called Anderson, Indiana, I didn’t really care. Anderson was great for growing up and biking around on my banana seat-flower-power Schwinn. I don’t remember much rain. I do recall that my parents and I were on the road almost every weekend going to or coming from Mo’town or The Windy City visiting the grandparents from the old country. Personally, they really would have loved San Diego. Why didn’t they go there? Why?
When I did have a vote in moving it was out West to Oregon, not San Diego. All of this to say that it has rained for nearly the entire month of January and frankly I would like to stake my claim to some territory in a sunnier part of the world. I get into a sun trance and I think about the hottest days I’ve ever experienced and they’re almost all in Greece. There was one in Yuma, but that place is just hellish hot, so I don’t really count it. It has to be sunny and yet pleasant enough to bike. I don’t want sun stroke!
It’s a classic line. Everyone complains about the weather but no one really does anything about it. The fact that we can’t travel because of the pandemic means that we’re all just a bit edgy out here in the Pacific Northwest. Some people claim to love it. There was a time in my life that I didn’t mind because it is as beautiful as a postcard. Green as a leprechaun’s hat, but still a whole lot of rain made it so. Be careful what you wish for since only as recent as September 2020 we had air quality issues due to massive fires. I don’t want that, of course. I just want to see the sun every few days. Can we get some balance in the forecast? Let’s bring in a lawyer. Here’s my offer: How about rain at night or less rain on my commute. I want one weekend a month of sun and sunshine on at least three holidays in the winter months. It doesn’t have to be consecutive days. I’m not unreasonable. Every other weekend should be sunny and bright. My husband always says, “Cheer up, fire season will be here before you know it.” He always takes weather’s side. He loves the rain and cold. It’s a fundamental incompatibility.
The most annoying part is the Dark Sky app. I need to get rid of it. It’s more accurate than reality. “Rain starting in a few minutes.” Yes, then rain. Rain for the hour. Usually, it is ridiculously accurate. My favorite alert (say that bit with sarcasm) is the one that says, “Rain stopping in 10 and starting again in 15 minutes.” Those are enough to send me into a fit of rage. Does that mean there’s a 5 minute window of no rain? It feels like I signed a contract with Zeus for an eternity of rain. Zeus is the boss of the skies, y’know. I bet he’s an investor in the Dark Sky app. Zeus is such a short tempered, impulsive god. We have Titan Prometheus to thank for the clouds. Humans needed a sign it was going to rain. As it goes, Prometheus decided to use lamb’s wool as the sign of rain. Clouds! When Zeus would send rain to the mortals, Prometheus would throw the lamb’s wool into the sky as a sign that rain was coming. But then Zeus brings on the rain and gets busy wielding some of deed and forgets he left the faucet on in the Northwest.
January is the weather-trifecta. Cold, wet and wind. I don’t enjoy riding in the cold below 40ºF. But I do it. Then if you add rain to the list and a light, variable wind, well, then the bike ride is about surviving. I should saddle up and Zwift instead, but I don’t. I brave the elements so I can claim some commuting points. You know the line, “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.” Mondays are no big deal, but 27 consecutive rainy days do get my down. Every day of January feels like I’ve been under a rain style shower head.
There are those who say that I should “dress for it” and I do. There are some who say I should drive on those days. The problem is that sometimes the forecast shifts as easily as gears on a bike and you end up with a day that seems like “all is right in the world.” I find myself forgiving everything that came before. It’s like I’m in a really dysfunctional relationship. “Yeah, I took them back. They apologized and said they’d try to do better.” The sun shines and the mountains are bold and bright. Steam rises off the bike lanes and and I know that I couldn’t possibly live anywhere else.
Or San Diego.
Get out there and ride.
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