As children, we learn to sing, “Rain rain go away. Come again another day,” in order to wish away the stormy clouds preventing us from running around the playground.
Our parents curse the rain for turning their 15-minute work commute into a 45-minute endeavor of heightened traffic and road diversions.
As UCSB students accustomed to tanning on our front lawns, hammocking between palm trees and skating down Del Playa during golden hour, we blame the rain for putting a damper on our sun-kissed lifestyle. Tranquil bike rides to Sands Beach turn into unsolicited ass-splatterings of mud. The refreshing ocean breeze becomes overtaken by the suffocating essence of wet dog. Beer die is no longer an option as cups become filled with rain, diluting our already tasteless Natty Ices to the point of indistinguishability from pure H2O.
There exists an overwhelming adversity to rain as an inconvenience, a hindrance to our lifestyle. For the majority of my life, I identified with this sentiment so when the rain began this winter quarter, I was all but excited. I would wake up to the patter of rain on my windowsill and roll over in bed unenthused about what lay ahead of me: just another day of wrangling the pesky zippers of my raincoat that always seem to get caught on the surrounding fabric; another day of battling the faulty umbrella button whose only purpose is to open up the simple device, but always seems to fail at doing just that; another day destined to be ruined by factors out of my control.
One particular Tuesday during week four, my skin felt especially sticky and my hair exceptionally frizzy from the humidity of my soggy classrooms. I was yearning especially hard for my shower of revitalization. On my walk back home, I texted my housemate to assure that the shower would be free upon my arrival. While looking down at my phone, I carelessly stepped in a puddle, soaking my socks all the way though. I bit my lip, let out a sigh and trudged on with the the words “I hate the rain” circling through my mind.
When I reached the bus loop roundabout, a guy sheltering himself with not one but two umbrellas biked past me. As I watched him ride away, I pondered the effectiveness of this strategy. I decided that Melania Trump could probably benefit from the second umbrella better than he could, although it was not my place to make suggestions.
As I continued on past SSMS, I noticed a bicyclist with something on his head. “A helmet?” I thought. “That’s rare to see at UCSB.” But alas, it was something even rarer — a plastic bag crafted into a rain mask, eye-holes and all. I remember in childhood being strictly informed to never put a plastic bag over my head to avoid accidental suffocation. I guess this principle becomes null when facing the threat of getting one’s cheeks a little wet. This irony amused me as I walked onward.
The path began to veer left, wrapping its way around the Thunderdome. The sparsity of buildings in this area of campus means less shelter, so I quickly felt the wind pick up around me. I held my hand in front of my face to shield my eyes from the raindrops darting about. While this did obstruct my vision to a considerable degree, I could not help but notice a massive pink blob making its way toward me. I let down my hand to discover a girl walking to class with a giant One Direction blanket wrapped around her shoulders. She had neither a raincoat nor an umbrella, just Harry Styles to protect her from the rain. Raindrops rolled down his cheeks from his deep blue eyes. It looked as if he was weeping while bearing his charming dimpled smile. I chuckled to myself at this ridiculous sight.
I let down my hand to discover a girl walking to class with a giant One Direction blanket wrapped around her shoulders. She had neither a raincoat nor an umbrella, just Harry Styles to protect her from the rain.
Leaving Harry in my tracks, I began to approach Pardall Tunnel. Usually, I would have viewed the glittering “Hesperous is Phosphorus” as the literal light at the end of the tunnel of my wet, gloomy trek back to I.V. This time, however, the landmark did not strike me so. There was no bad mood to overcome. I was already content. In analyzing the innovative rain repellant strategies along my walk, I had shed my deep-rooted aversion to the rain.
These past few weeks, when I awake to the pattering on my windowsill, I cannot say that I spring up out of bed ready to splash around in puddles belting “I’m Singin’ in the Rain.” I can say, however, that I no longer dread my drizzly walk to class the way I used to. Before, the rain to me was simply an oppressive force, dictating the clothes I’d wear, the places I’d go and my means of getting there. Yet, in recognizing the funky quirks and crafty contraptions that the rain brings out in my fellow Isla Vistans, I am able to find joy in my community, rain or shine.
Miya Herzstein encourages Gauchos to embrace the rain.