Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

It never rains in California —

— but girl, don’t they warn ya, when it pours?  Man, it pours.  Sunny Southern California has been hit, and hit hard, this week by storm after storm.  Lots of folks around town talk about how much we need it, but gosh it would be nice if Mother Nature parceled it out a bit better.  The poor folks in La Canada/Flintridge nod heartily in agreement as they worry about mudslides due to last year’s wildfire scorched hillsides and this year’s El Nino conditions.


As a native Californian it seems to me that ours is a state of sometimes moody weather and mostly mellow people, but I think caffeine has changed all that.  Well, not the weather, but the people.  Just get out on the highways and you’ll sense the unnatural urgency of driver as they race up to red lights and tailgate in the most dangerous situations.  Where on God’s green (thanks to the rain) earth is everybody going?  You’d think they were giving out Wonka’s Golden Tickets every quarter mile the way people rush around.  It doesn’t help when you go and add a little water to these monstrous fools either, sort of like those sponge dinosaur capsules that grow in size when kids put ‘em in the bathtub.


Personally, I blame a lot of this need for speed on the information highway for getting everybody more jacked up than they need to be.  Well, that and the microwave.  It didn’t help much either.  Once upon a time we didn’t have multiple sources of instant communication and personal gratification in a moment’s notice.  We had to sit down and wait for meals to be prepared, cooked and served.  Paperwork had to arrive via the postal service, courier or … heaven help you if it ever came to this: telegram.  When it came to talking to someone, those of us that remember life B. S. (Before Skype) you only had two choices: in person or on the phone.  In my early childhood home we had ONE phone which was located on the kitchen wall (which was conveniently located near a counter for sitting, but my mother never permitted).  It was a big deal the day we added a jack to the master bedroom so that my mother could have her fancy antique reproduction ivory and brass French phone at her bedside.  People weren’t impatient about phone use back then either and were apparently in no hurry to rush off to do something better than talk to you, because the phone would ring & ring & ring before you could stop whatever you were doing to run in from the backyard and through the house to answer that kitchen phone – because mother didn’t let anyone touch the phony baloney French phone.


As fast as the world seems to be turning and, unfortunately, driving I really don’t like being behind the wheel on a rainy day.  Today with the rain falling and the temperature hovering in the low 40’s — I much prefer being indoors and in fact, I think most people do.  Being inside gives the day a more relaxed, lackadaisical feel and often brings out the tea or cocoa mugs and maybe paperback novels for those at home.  At night, if the storm is really bad and the lights go out, candles will start to glow all around the neighborhood and stories might get told under blankets used for warmth and cuddling (and a bit of advice in this area?  No Snuggies.  They say no man is an island, but on a cold, wet day if tucked into one of those contraptions, trust me you’ll be alone, Buddy).


Probably the one thing that brings a semi-evil smile to my lips about rainy days is the possibility of a power outage.  No power?  No computer.  No fax machine.  No video games.  No television.  No microwave.  And (joy, oh rapture!) no phones … because the four cordless buggers in my 1,800 sq. foot home (one for every 450 ridiculous feet) require electricity.  I realize that battery-operated cellphones continue to work in a storm, but I have to confess that I turn mine off when I am home.  I don’t like the idea of always having to be accessible, plus the schools know to call home in the event of an emergency (which can include, but is not limited to, my son forgetting his raincoat, homework, snack, red pencil or good ol’ Captain Underpants).  Besides, what’s wrong with being a little incommunicado?  Over the past ten years people have been practically driven to distraction when they’ve tried to find you on your home phone, your office phone, your email, your fax or the one bloodless, locate-target-at-any-cost, communication tool: the dreaded cellphone.  Seriously.  Having been in a public restroom and have it ring from three and a half feet up in the air inside a purse on a hook is a bit like being electronically stalked.  It’s not very comfortable.  Men don’t have the same problem and I’m sorry to report that I know what the acoustics of my husband’s employee washroom sound like.


This storm will soon pass and I will certainly be happy for the folks in areas that are threatened by it and the devastation that it could bring.  But, while it lingers in my neighborhood, I sort of like the idea that rain forces life to slow down to a most delicious pace and fantasize about the notion that the best way to reach me would be by an old-fashioned letter delivered to me by our mailman, Postman Dan.  Even though it is not their official creed, the inscription on a New York Postal Office stays with me: Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night (oh, and Santa Clarita gets ‘em all) stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.  No matter what devices man continues to create, there is truly nothing like communication connected to a postage stamp.  Curling up next to a fire with a piping hot mug of butterscotch infused cocoa, I can happily take my time and read the thoughts of another by candlelight… or, if I must, the flashlight app of the cellphone. [I may be old-fashioned in some respects, but I’m not a true antique.  Apparently just a reproduction of one.]

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