Rain Dance

Oh, the weather outside is frightful…but inside my head it’s frightful too. So let it snow. Or more accurately, let it rain.

And it is, after six months of ominous drought. In this realm, Jane and I experience frequent conflict, vis-à-vis optimism versus pessimism. The absence of precipitation signals, for me, the heat death of the planet. But, of course, as with most things, the meteorological signals are mixed.

The current forecast is, more or less, 40 days and 40 nights…or in a more sensible version, eight days of rain, some of it heavy. This may amount to 6 inches in the next week or so, which if you do your California weather math, adds up to one third of the season total. Which is pretty damn way cool, if you ask me.

As for the frightful interior of my own head, I see a spillover effect, a general anxiety over my increasing neuromuscular helplessness. Which anticipates similar incapacitation just over the horizon almost anywhere. But I digress. Of course, I fret and worry over driving, or my lack of it. Getting behind the wheel and putting in some miles is part of my regular life objective. And what gets in the way is a pervasive sense of dread, which is indeed frightful, that is to say, full of fright. And pretty much a regular drain on the flywheel of life.

So forgive one more boring example…but this very day damned if I wasn’t setting out to pull some tax money out of a local bank, live in person, a task which can easily be accomplished via the #35 Muni bus. But I was determined to drive, this being a Saturday, the first post-Thanksgiving, and not looking like many would be out in popular Noe Valley. But I balked. 

Conditions did not look promising. When was the last time I drove in the rain, for example? Hadn’t we just driven down the motorway to Thanksgiving at daughter-in-law Eleanor’s house and encountered bands of monsoon? Imagine parking in Noe Valley, apocalyptic rain erupting and being, more or less stuck, unable to drive because of the downpour…. Also unable to even get out of a parking space, the backup camera on my car being disabled by this wash of rain. Imagine. Imagine.

This is the essential problem with dread, how it shifts our attention from the demonstrably real to the sinister imagined. The shift is often too subtle to even notice. No, subtle isn’t the word. Too insidious. So I started the car, determined to just sit there and keep the battery alive. And also to practice working the pedals. For there is that other fear, that the range of motion in my feet and ankles has somehow diminished so that I can’t quite, well, drive. So within a few minutes I was able to establish that my feet still work, and so does the backup camera, even when it’s raining.

Leaving me to contend with starting the same process all over again the next time it isn’t raining, which could be tomorrow morning. Thus, dread. Which is indeed dreadful. And meanwhile, let us rejoice in the river-filling rain.

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