There’s something about wind and rain that makes Manhattan feel like an episode of Survivor. When Mother Nature feels peevish, it’s everyone for themself on this island.
Take today. The skies are a dreary gray. Actually, they’re a similar shade as that gray Crayola you never used, the one that always stayed super sharp (unlike Midnight Blue or Carnation Pink, which were quickly worn dull). The rain thrashes you from every side, thanks to the quickly shifting gale-force winds, rendering umbrellas completely useless. Everyone is poorly equipped to handle the elements. And everyone is grumpy. Like impacted-molar grumpy.
So, my challenge today was to get to a morning appointment without looking like I swam there. It wasn’t easy. With no warning whatsoever, my umbrella flipped up—not once, but twice—into a triple-back aerial flip. It was frightening move of spindly metal and cheap black nylon that nearly stabbed a passerby in the process. Actually, two passersby.
I arrived at my destination only modestly wet, not a hint of Tammy Faye Baker eye and my umbrella, amazingly enough, still working. Immunity was within reach!
Of course, there was the walk home, which was even more trying. At this point, the rain was pelting the ground in fat, powerful drops and the wind had escalated to Wizard of Oz strength. I was outside for less than two minutes when my umbrella decided it was really a tulip and damnit if it wouldn’t be recognized as such. I heard something about “Flower Power” and then the entire thing flipped heavenward and I was left trying to stay dry holding a giant dripping black tulip above me. That lasted a block until I shoved my umbrella-cum-nylon flower in the garbage can and decided to make a run for the nearest DuaneReade, which was two blocks away. That crazed woman you saw running down Second Avenue? It was me.
You know how in movies the rain comes down in uniform sheets and you think smugly to yourself, “Oh, that looks so fake. Rain doesn’t come down in sheets like that. If I were making a movie I would at least wait for a rainy day to get an authentic shot.” Well, I’m here to report that yes, rain in fact does pour down in sheets. Massive, sopping wet sheets.
I made it into the DuaneReade, picked up another umbrella, saying a silent prayer that this one too didn’t think it was a flower, paid for it and headed back into the contest before anyone else won. How I wanted to secure some shelter! Maybe some giant palm leaves, or bamboo. God, what I wouldn’t do for some flint and the ability to make fire! There was a perfect nook—with an overhang!—near this antique shop. Christ, would this challenge never end?
Eventually, I did make it home. To my warm apartment. That has a roof. And a stocked refrigerator. But let me tell you, it was close.
Fortunately, I’m not the least bit dramatic.