If you’re like me, when it starts raining outside, you keep the windows open with the AC on. I’m sure that’s not particular to South Florida. But our rain does fall differently. That, I can back up with a thousand natives. And those who migrate our way are met with the same distinction. I mean, geographically alone, we’re the only parcel of land in this country known as the tropics. Our humidity is basically rain that doesn’t fall. That’s how much it rains here in the way that it does. Besides a nine month bout of drinking and living like animals in Central Florida, and a few out of town diversions, I’ve been here for most every pitter patter this side of County Line Road.
In my marriage, it’s not the sun that brings us back out into the world, it’s the rain. Sure, that may make us psychopaths. Put us in straitjacket rain coats and leaves us out there. It’s really a sure fire way for breaking our fights up. It’s not the sun beating down on our souls. It’s this crisp, full bodied, fresh water rhythmic, bullet-shaped droplets slamming into the ground that bring our squabbles to a quick end. In a way, good ideas are born under the sun. But, great ideas are born from the sound of a rain storm. These aren’t my rules. I’m just reporting on them.
To this day, there’s been one day that sticks out in my memories of rain. It’s my favorite type of South Florida concoction. The sun shower. Oh yes. That odd pairing of both sun and rain. And driving this day was really what seared this feeling in my mind.
I don’t know about you, but my mind has feelings. This day, on my way to a friend’s to play Scrabble. Yes, I’ll drive somewhere to play Scrabble. Especially if it’s accompanied by finger foods and cocktails.
I had a friend’s instrumental album playing from start. The sun had some cover, enough to let the rain scatter softly on the world around me. The way the sky couldn’t decide on the kind of day it wants to be. The way the rain tip toed around my windshield. The way my friend’s album stitched this scene all together. Every time a sun shower appears, I make sure to lap it up by taking a walk or pose to the heavens like a just crawled out of a river of human waste Shawshank Redemption style.
And really, our rain is what gives us our so-called Fall season. Our leaves don’t change colors. It doesn’t get any cooler. Least not yet, yet. So a good rain is all we have for spooky movie time. Come to think of it, I can distinctly remember a steamy trick or treating or two. Those always felt more cinematic. Hold up. Side bar. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this. And this maybe only us. But in a room with no windows. Deep in the recesses of some building. Somehow, someway, you know it’s raining outside. Don’t front. I know I’m not the only one who’s experienced this.
Now for those hardcore weather fans out there, I’m positive you have as many weather apps on your phone as my wife does. She pays for them. My bedroom turns into Minority Report with multiple screens offering different takes on whatever weather phenomena is occurring. And if I’m ever unsure of what to put on to watch, anything, legit, anything involving a storm will do. The movie could be called Storm or Rain or Weather and two minutes in we’re watching the dysfunctional family torn apart by a family secret only to heal the wounds of their past by making it through the “floating typhoon” (whatever that is) in a cabin built by the town’s crazy person. At least they have a chance. The matriarch of the family was swallowed by a flash flood 15 years ago. They were hardly prepared for… Storm (It will be sequelized)
The only reason we have our local channels is strictly for the weather. We revere our meteorologists. Way more than any politician. We wonder about them. Their lives. How much schooling they had. How much is ad-libbing and what’s on the teleprompter. I feel like our local weather folk are like our Dolphin’s punters. They just hope and pray they’ll get called into the game more often. But our skies provide. For some months, you can set your watch by when our rain falls. It’s pretty magical. There’s this other state some call Washington, I mean we all should it’s called Washington, where it rains all day. And rains all night. I prefer a break. That break where we get the drips. Those single bloops. It was said best in one the best movies of the 90s, The Crow. “Can’t rain all the time.” But when it does, man we swing.
Oddly enough, where I live, a sort of vortex surrounds my apartment building. We’re close to the bay. Very close. And maybe it’s the design of our building. Maybe it has something to do with something ancient on the Earth. But really. 9 times out of 10 any and all storms will steer around us. It’ll break up right down the middle and start new patterns on either side of us. So when we do get a rain that falls above all corners of our building, neighbors will leave their homes, commiserate outside, as if to honor this infrequent event. That’s why it’s that much more special to my wife and I. Our memories of these times grow longer. Like actor Brandon Lee of The Crow spoke about in his last interview, “How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet, it all seems limitless.” Yup. That’s how we feel about our rains.
There’s a steam to our rain. A danger. A noir. No filmmaker had ever captured this side of South Florida. They’ve tried. Some time ago. Can’t get the crime right. But the neon’s there. The palm trees. The art deco. We got gutters. We’ve got alleys. All’s we’re missing is a fat sax. And the sound of high heels clip-clopping against the wet asphalt. It’s there, though. That world too. Our steam falls, it doesn’t rise like some post-apocalyptic cityscape. We got iguanas. We’ve got gators. We have a whole host of people who don’t use umbrellas. That’s how hardcore we are. Even on a rainy day, we’d rather forgo carrying anything, if it’s not a cafecito or a cell phone.
The rains here slap a little different. Come for the sun, but don’t feel bad your stay included a couple gray days. You don’t know how lucky you are. Oooh! I hear thunder. Quick! Fire up the apps.