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It Rains in DC

As a kid (not that long ago), I loved rainy days. I eagerly anticipated rain, loved watching the droplets of water slide down my window panes, and took solace in the way the rain polished up the black asphalt streets and made the gray cobblestones shine. I especially loved going for walks in the rain, armed only with an umbrella, and thinking deep and portentous thoughts as the raindrops spattered and drummed on the umbrella’s membrane.

One of the best gifts I ever received in my pre-teen years was a large black-pinstriped umbrella with a smooth curved wooden handle, which opened with a satisfying thunk at the touch of a button and spread wonderfully wide above my head. It was perfect for solitary walks on rainy days and offered an ideal canopy for the sort of thoughts a bookish adolescent girl might think trudging through slick wet streets.

The only other thing I lacked for absolute happiness on rainy days was a trench-coat. At a certain time in my life, when I had gotten past the spell of horse-craziness that befalls most young girls, an important reference point of happiness for me was a vision of myself walking through our neighborhood streets on a rainy autumn evening with a trench-coat and umbrella. Note the distinct absence of anything brightly colored or worse, pink (shudder).

But really, I had a happy childhood. After all, my parents did get me a trench-coat.

I mention all this by way of noting that I really have nothing against rainy days. I still like the sound of rain drumming against my windows, and I now have a nice pair of rain boots that I really like wearing.

But this is just ridiculous. As per The Washington Post: “Torrential downpours and flash-flooding mussed up museums and Metro stations yesterday, turned the 12th Street tunnel into a soda straw, the National Archives into an ark and Beach Drive into a beach drive.”

Almost three days of heavy rains, and we have Land Unter* in DC: commutes disrupted, the IRS and other government buildings flooded and closed, mud taking over the Beltway (and incidentally also large parts of the NIH campus), and cars swimming away.

You have to wonder about a city’s water management system when on the first day of heavy rains it becomes impossible to walk two blocks to a bus stop , at a moderate pace, without immediately soaking one’s pants up to the knees. Curbs become little lakes, fed by the streams that used to be streets but now required hip waders and ideally a raft to navigate. I mean, I knew this city was built on a swamp but really.

[* “Land Unter” is German for “land under (water)” i.e. flooding]

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One Response

  1. nice blog!

    mary

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