Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Blame It On the Rain

Ugh. I get SO annoyed when it rains in Manhattan. It's just miserable. Miserable. MI. SER. A. BLE. So miserable, in fact, that I apparently feel the need to break down the word in syllables.

It's miserable anytime it rains anywhere in the world, but usually you just run from your house to your car and from your car to your office. Sure it's annoying to cart around an umbrella, but you're generally unscathed save for some splashes on the toes of your shoes and a little rain hair. In Manhattan, however, you are fully exposed to the elements for a much longer length of time. Chances are you'll have a ten-minute walk to the subway or a wait for the bus, and then you'll have to walk from your drop-off point, too. Unless you're Blair Waldorf and can hop in a private car 24/7 to visit your bf's hipster loft in Brooklyn. But I digress.

Here are just a few of the multitude of reasons NYC rain really dampens my spirits:

* Umbrellas. No one knows how to use them. If you think Manhattan sidewalk etiquette is bad, it gets ten times worse once pedestrians start wielding weapons in their untrained hands. Expect to have your eye poked out at least once a day.

* Umbrellas 2.0. You never have one when you need it. You may have bought eight different $5 umbrellas from the umbrella vendors who seem to pop out of the sewer grates every time it starts to sprinkle, and three of those umbrellas may have even survived their two-use average, but you will not have any of those umbrellas when it starts raining. Even if you brought an umbrella with you every single other day that week. You know the day God rested and you decided to rest your paranoia about being caught in the rain without an umbrella so you decided to leave your umbrella at home? It'll rain that day.

* Puddles. Lots of them. Big ones. HUGE. I'm not talking about your typical little puddles that make you look really cute as you daintily hop over them. I'm talking giant, deep, river-like puddles that extend ten feet on each side of the corner and five feet into the street--puddles that are too big for you to jump over even if you get a running start. It's almost as if plate tectonics caused a sinkhole to develop just to ruin your new Tahari leather flats. Who cares if you got them on sale at TJ Maxx for $39.99? They're still awesome name-brand shoes that you were planning to keep for years since their style is so classic and timeless. You were not planning on having them (and your feet, for that matter) completely covered with water that may have collected from the rain or from run-off or from the backed-up sewer. This is why you can never buy nice things. Don't believe me? Check out this article about a puddle on 33rd Street: "The oily green-tinged water stretches at least thirty feet long and is several inches deep, overflowing onto the sidewalk where it mixes with garbage and cigarette butts and accosts locals with its putrid smell."

* Rain boots. Rain boots seem like the obvious solution to the puddle problem, right? Wrong. It is extremely difficult to find a pair of rain boots that will not spring a leak within the first ten wearings. And even if your rain boots are not holey, you're still wearing rain boots. This means that each time you lift your foot, it weighs an extra two pounds. And you don't exactly look chic. You either have to carry a second pair of shoes to change into once you get to work or keep them on all day and look like a moron when the rain has cleared up and you're walking home from work in the bright sunshine still wearing your clunky rain boots. 

* Cabs. Don't even try to hail one. They're all full. Save yourself some heartache and pretend that cabs are dead to you.

* Rain hair. It's bad. Really bad. Every rainy morning, like this morning, I curl or straighten or scrunch my hair, thinking, "Thank goodness I got that new hairspray that combats humidity." Or, "I'll just put some scrunch spray in my hair and let it dry naturally. It'll save me oodles of time and I'll end up looking like Kate Hudson." Or, "Good thing I washed my hair yesterday. The oil buildup will combat flyaways." It doesn't work. None of it works. I hate to break it to you, but there is NO HOPE for your hair on rainy days. None. You end up looking like Richard Simmons no matter how many ways you try to prevent it. The second you step outside--and I mean the very second--your hair is down for the count. Save yourself some time and effort. Throw your hair in a ponytail and use the 30 minutes you would have needed to fix your hair and use it to watch last night's episode of "Khloe & Lamar." It's a much better use of your time.

* Crowded buses. Since no one wants to walk, the normally manageable buses, which are usually inhabited by the old and infirm, are packed to the gills. This causes all of the windows to steam up, which, if you're standing (as you inevitably are) has the unfortunate side effect of blurring your field of vision and increasing the possibility that you'll miss your stop because you can't see it coming. Steamy buses also do nothing for your hair.

* Subway entrances and exits. What would you do if you walked up a staircase and into a rainstorm? You'd want to open your umbrella as soon as possible, right? Well, so would I. And so would the twenty people around us. The problem is that not everyone can open their umbrellas the second they hit the open air. It's physics. Which I am extremely knowledgeable about. As hordes of people exit the subway staircase, all trying to open their umbrellas in sync (as if they were *NSYNC performing their awesome rendition of "Bye Bye Bye" from the groundbreaking album No Strings Attached), hordes of people are entering the subway staircase, none of whom want to put down their umbrellas a second before they have to. And when they close their umbrellas, you and the subway exiters often get splashed from the rain sitting on top of the umbrellas as they snap shut. It's a lose-lose. You get soaked both ways.

* Wet seats. I know you probably want to get your wet umbrella as far away from you as possible when you finally sit down on the subway or bus. But guess what? When you put your wet umbrella on the seat, it leaves a nice little puddle of water behind, meaning that seat cannot be sat in for hours. Or at least until a Good Samaritan wipes it off. Or a Moron like me doesn't notice and sits down anyway, unknowingly sopping up the puddle with her pants.

* Being splashed by speeding cars. You know those scenes in the movies when the heroine is in a bad mood, or a good mood, or a super rush, and then a car zooms through a puddle, drenching her from head to toe? That happens in real life, too. According to my very scientific meteorological study, it happens in Manhattan 98% of the time. Usually when you're on your way to work or an audition. It never happens when you're bumming around in your old clothes and look like a mess anyway.

* Hidden buildings. It's really creepy to see fog or clouds obscuring the tops of buildings. I mean, I know they're still there. I'm not two. But seeing cut-off buildings makes me feel claustrophobic. Like the sky is falling Chicken Little-style and may eventually squash me. Here's a pic of the Empire State Building that I took this morning on Fifth Avenue. If I were a computer genius (or even as computer savvy as a seventh-grader), I would include an arrow to point to the spot in the middle of this image where the building should be. But since I'm only as computer savvy as a third-grader, you'll just have to do the legwork to figure it out.

* That lovely rain sound. Manhattan even robs us of the soothing sound of rain drumming on the roof, which is often the only perk of a rainy day. Even on the top floor of a building, you generally can't hear the rain. Unless you happen to hear it splashing on your air conditioner. Which just reminds me that I can't hear it pelting the roof. Which makes me sad.

Wow. I've been complaining about the rain for so long that the sun has come out again. But don't worry--it's supposed to rain again later this week.


  1. You're adorable even when you complain! Your article made me laugh out loud while I nodded in agreement.

  2. Thanks--glad you liked it! Writing everything down was a much more effective form of therapy than glaring at people who slash me with their umbrellas (which is what I normally do).

  3. I did laugh out loud...literally.

  4. I was there in the pouring rain one day, and I agree, I was MISERABLE. Your article was not an exaggeration, not one bit.

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  6. Thanks for laughing at (and feeling) my pain! It rained again today. Grrrr...