Thursday, 10 April 2014

To borrow a phrase - I can't stand the rain

It's raining in Melbourne. It's been raining solidly for the last couple of days. Apparentlly we've received our monthly rainfall in a couple of days. I forget which month. It's a bit wearing, travelling around, hauling umbrellas, avoiding others' umbrellas, being constantly damp, managing frizzy hair, but it's been lovely to see the grass green again.

I've been persisting with my daily walk. The trains and trams are so stuffy and humid that it's actually nicer to be out in the air, even if you are a bit damp and your hair has turned into a fuzz ball. In one spot where I walk there is a glorious stand of eucalyptus trees. I pause to take in the scent. I also notice the bubbles forming on the puddles and feel sorry for the people trapped in their cars, lined up and going no where.

I've been puzzled by the people I've seen hunched over, as if they are making themselves so small, they would fit between the raindrops. In one hand they clutch an umbrella. Why don't they open it and take shelter?

Umbrellas are particularly hazardous when boarding and alighting from trains and trams. I was nearly stabbed to death by a small Asian woman who suddenly changed direction while we waited to touch off our mykis on the way out of the station. I stood very still and she looked terrified.

All the floors are slippery and I walk like a 90 year-old woman everywhere I see a smooth service. Since my fall last year, I'm acutely aware of how a simple fall can cause serious injury. I'm constantly surprised by how many walking surfaces are completely unsuited to wet weather and rushing crowds of people.

This morning's commute was chaotic. Power failures further down the line meant cancellations and delays. As the train pulled into the station 15 minutes late, the windows were dark with crowds inside and fogged with all their breathing. I insinuated myself into an inadequate space, having already let one train pass. I held onto an overhead railing at an angle just wrong enough to make me feel discombobulated when I finally arrived at my destination.

Coming home a woman asked whether station announcements are made on the train.

"Sometimes," I told her. "If you're lucky, they might even be accurate."

She looked at me like I was some kind of zealot.

Soon the voice of Metro trains announced that the next station was Seddon. It wasn't. It was South Kensington. Only two stops out. The woman looked at me with mistrust when I told her where to get off. The train, I mean. I shrugged. She could trust me - a stranger on a train - or she could trust the disembodied, malfunctioning woman with the voice. Or she could look out the window and see the name of the station.

It's nice to arrive home to a dry place; although I'm slightly nervous that the unattended hole in the ceiling will soon prove to be catastrophic.

As I settle in to watch Survivor tonight, I'm reminded to be glad that I'm not camping on a beach, even if I was in the running to win a million dollars. Or in north Queensland waiting for the cyclone to arrive.

How do you feel about rain?

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