Caught in a wet place

by Alice

Car alarms were going off, one after the other, people were running for cover, and cars were pulling to side of the road. And as I stood there unarmed in the middle of the sidewalk with no cover, I realized I deserved it. I never should have said that storms in New York City were underrated.

I knew it was supposed to hit around 5 p.m., right as I would be walking out of the office. But it wasn’t raining yet, not even thundering, when I swung through the revolving doors. I started speedwalking. Maybe, I thought, I’ll be able to get from 1st Street to 10th Street before the storm hits, just maybe.

I sped down to 3rd before I started feeling tiny drops, barely there, and petrichor (a word I learned yesterday) seeped from the ground. This is when New Yorkers normally put up their umbrellas in haste, rush inside, complaining about how it’s pouring rain outside. I’m used to rain, and I feel silly lighting up an umbrella when I can’t even hear the rain hit it. It usually doesn’t get worse than that up here.

But not today. The drizzle turned to rain, which suddenly started coming down in sheets. I was soaked by the time I hit 4th Street. At that point I stopped speed walking. I had 6 more blocks to go, and no umbrella. I might as well enjoy it.

My skirt began to cling to my legs, I felt like my eyes needed windshield wipers, and my feet protested at walking through the hot rain water gathered at the crosswalk at the end of each block. But I felt strangely invigorated. People with umbrellas stared at me as if I were an alien. A couple of stay-at-home moms who were sitting on their porch to watch the downpour chuckled and waved when I grinned at them from behind my dripping blond bangs.

Every once and awhile it’s fun to get caught in the rain. I laughed at myself the whole walk home, stepping in puddles without a second thought and ignoring smirks from drivers in their comfortable, dry cars. I squished up the stairs of my building, and went straight for the bathroom. After throwing my drenched clothes over the shower curtain, I snuggled up with a glass of wine, pajama shorts and a fresh t-shirt, and I smiled at the rain outside.

Mother Nature had bested me, and I had learned my lesson. I know now that it can pour rain in New York, hopefully next time I bring my umbrella.