Friday, 17 May 2013

Missing Umbrellas in a Time of Downpour

Yesterday started off sunny, bright and beautiful. Though still on the "cool" side it was a delight to see that big golden ball in the sky with few white puffy patches to cover it. It was a start to a day that screamed promise, fun, and success.

And when our delighted faces (particularly Luke's) attempted to solicit joy from others regarding these meteorological circumstances, we were a bit taken aback to hear the skepticism from the locals: "It won't last" or "Just wait, it will change".  We shook off the negativity and proceeded to delight in the change of the week's misfortunate weather, and wondered aloud how it could possibly change that drastically. Even a passing shower wouldn't be that bad--not enough at least to change our momentary optimism. Besides, we had actually looked at the weather for the day (a rare occurrence), and the chances of rain were a mere 20% for the afternoon and 5% for all other hours of the day. Plus, May was rumored to be a month of draught. The odds were certainly in our favor.

And then...

We hung our laundry--perhaps in spite of the downcast moods we had confronted. We were not to be deterred from making the most of the sun! Plus, several other neighbors had also hung theirs, and isn't there something about safety in numbers?

Of course it started to rain shortly after this point, but still we would not allow the optimism to be swept under the rug. The laundry would stay! Surely, 20% chance of rain meant that even if there was a shower or two the sun would return to its post in no time.

The ironic twist (which of course there had to be one)? It was the hardest rain in at least a month (a long stretch by British standards) and probably longer. To add to that, it lasted all afternoon and continued into the evening. Torrential downpours. The signs of flooding on some streets. Soaking, soaking, soaking laundry....grrrrrr!

The optimism sunk into despair as if it had been a happy-go-lucky passerby who happens to get hit head-on by a mudslide. Idealism morphed into a bitter and cynical outlook which sputtered phrases such as "This country!!!!" or "Is it too much to ask for a FULL day of sunshine?"

And then it was time to pick up Tyler from preschool, usually a lovely 5 minute walk down the road. Attempting to look at the "rainy day bright side of things" Luke and I thought of how nice it would be to cuddle close together under our enormous umbrella, put on our wellies and splash in the puddles. It could work--we could turn the mood around...yes we would do it!

But the umbrella was nowhere to be found: it was and still is missing. Sunk. Again. Except this time it felt like we were down for the count.

Me: "Missing? What do you mean?"
Luke: "I can't find it. It's not anywhere."
Me: "That's just great. Just. Great. We've lost or broken like a gagillion umbrellas. Perfect."
Luke: "Looks like it's going to be a wet walk."

The huge bubble of hope, which with the sun bore immense possibilities, now with the downpour and the loss of an umbrella...popped. I could have cried.

We did find two tiny umbrellas which at least kept our heads relatively dry. But the drips from the edges were the type that soak your coat, and cuddling was definitely out of the question.

We didn't jump in any puddles on the way there. Instead a gloomy cloud and LOTS of rain huddled over us making us forget there was EVER a glimpse of sunshine in the recent past.

I was very bothered by the missing umbrella, it was just one of those little things that unexpectedly pushed me over the edge. I hadn't quite realized how much I felt like I needed the hope of a sunny day: one that lasted until the evening or at least one that didn't end in terrential downpours. I was tired and perhaps even a bit stressed. And at that particular point, I was also very, very sad.

Not sure why Luke wasn't acting like the missing umbrella was as much of a letdown as it was to me, on the way home I asked him: "Doesn't it bother you that we lost yet another umbrella?"

To which he looked at me and answered: "Yes, it does bother me, but if I think about it then I think it will be the straw that breaks the camel's back. I will start a downward spiral and start questioning what's the point of anything."

And then I burst out laughing. Our responses to a missing umbrella were united in thought and yet utterly ridiculous! The thought transgression that went from a misplaced umbrella to questioning the point of anything.

The laughter turned into more laughter. Smiles emerged that refused to be hidden. Tyler caught on, and though he wasn't sure why we were all of a sudden so giddy, he joined in the joyful moment like kids do.

We found a huge puddle in the road on the way back and stood for several minutes cheering the cars that flew through it and made ginormous sprays.

As Tyler rode his scooter home, Luke and I reached out for each other's hand and let the rain pour on them. We jumped in the puddles, and let the laundry soak up the precipitation through the night.

What was the big deal anyways? A little (or a British downpour worth of) rain isn't worth breaking a poor camel's back.

And this morning? Bright, beautiful sunshine followed by continued sunshine in the afternoon. The clothes? Nearly dry!

So take that British weather: it will have to take more than a terrential downpour and a missing umbrella to keep us down. Although we'd prefer if we could call a truce at this point and laugh this off as a minor argument with a beautiful resolution. What do you say?