As a kid, I always enjoyed a good storm.
I remember being on the East Coast of America for Hurricane Charley in 2004. I was 11-years-old and I’m not sure that I’ve ever been so excited. We all huddled in a room at the top of the house (which was obviously madness and not proper hurricane etiquette) and waited for the storm to hit. It did hit, but in quite a limp way, with some wind and rain, which, after a spell, I slept through. The next day we went out into the yard and there was some trash scattered on the lawn (might’ve been raccoons) and my bike had been blown away. Otherwise, you’d never have known there had been a storm.
But maybe those experiences of stormy summers in the US set the tone for my lifelong enjoyment of the rain. Being in a car, or by a window, when the rain is drumming down is fantastic. It makes me want to toast crumpets on a fire and play Scrabble. I like being protected from the rain, and, provided I have dry clothes at my disposal, I like being caught in it. It’s like having a fun shower from God.
It’s raining at the moment, as it has done for the last 48 hours. People who went to the Notting Hill carnival (not me, I can assure you) were drenched, and I spent all day hovering inside, considering when to make my sandwich dash. I thought the rain would blow itself out overnight, but, reliably, it’s turned up again today. I know it’s a very British thing to do, complaining about the weather, but being really cold and wet on the tube is universally unpleasant. I mean, it’s better than Ebola, but it’s still not great.
Perhaps this distaste for the rain has something to do with the loss of my inner-warmth. I’m not speaking metaphorically; I genuinely feel colder, all the time. I’ve been wearing a jumper for about 50% of August, which is unprecedented. I used to be quite a warm person (I once went skiing without any thermals and had to be taken home by mountain rescue (my first and only skiing experience, I should add)) for whom the rain was a refreshing break from the overbearing sun. Now I just want clouds and a jacket.
London couldn’t be more grey at the moment. I’m staring at the sky now, above a horizon of dark green tree leaves, and it looks like a prisoner’s jumpsuit. The bare blanket sky is hanging over us, like it’s waiting to smother us, looking to press down… But, really, it’s just the weather, shaking its dick at us, and showing how insignificant we dry mortals truly are.
British storms aren’t like American ones. They don’t come with fire and brimstone, hurricane status or tornado shelters. They’re oppressive, rather than aggressive, and, if the rain doesn’t let up soon, people are going to start writing very gloomy blog posts.