Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A walk in the rain

Saturday was noteworthy for a couple of reasons. First, we had torrential downpours and flooding all day.

And second, Saturday was the day the brakes on the Honda locked up, in the parking lot of Whole Foods.

It was, as I mentioned, raining just a bit. Now I could have called Ft. Bend Towing, but I had left their card in the Buick. Speaking of the Buick, the Buick was happily functional, and patiently waiting at my friend Nick's car repair shop for me to come get her, as she had been for about a week. But that was three miles away.

I called up everybody I knew who lived in Sugar Land. Well, almost everybody – I didn’t call one friend of mine who lives in Sugar Land, but that’s because she has a ridiculously jealous husband. (Not really; the truth is that it just flat slipped my air-filled mind that Novera lives in Sugar Land.) So, basically, I called the people I know from Java Dave’s, or at least those whose cell phone numbers I know: Aileen, Nasser, and Daniela. Aileen was working; Nasser was out running errands up in Houston or someplace; and Daniela didn’t answer. (I blame Caller ID, myself.)

Well, I didn’t particularly want to sit aimlessly around in the car all day. And I didn’t really have any particular objection to walking. And I hadn’t had an excuse to go walking in the rain and splashing through puddles in some time (obviously one of the drawbacks to becoming an adult is that one requires an excuse to do things that, as a child, you could do “just because”). So I shrugged my shoulders, climbed out of the car, and headed for Nick's shop.

About a half mile along the way, as I was happily engaged in trying to see how much higher than my well-soaked cowboy hat brim I could kick the water in the puddles I was marching through, my phone rang. It was Miss Daniela calling me back.

“Mr. Pierce, did you call me?”

I chuckled. “Oh, don’t worry about it, Miss Daniela, it’s no big deal. But thanks for calling me back.”

Now, Miss Daniela is a very well-mannered and considerate young lady, and so she politely asked, “Is everything okay?”

Walking, temporarily, with great care and circumspection so as to keep from accidentally splashing my BlackBerry, I explained cheerfully, “Oh, my car broke down at Whole Foods, and I was just checking around to see if anybody I knew happened to be in the neighborhood to save me some walking in the rain. But nobody was, so I just went ahead and started walking.”

“Oh, no! Mr. Pierce, are you sure you don’t need help?”

“My dear Miss Daniela, once you’ve walked half a mile in this rain you might as well walk two or three more, ’cause I assure you, I ain’t gonna get any wetter than I already am. So don’t worry; I’m fine. But, really, thank you very much for calling me back.”

She was clearly still rather dubious. “Well, okay.”

“I’ll talk to you later. Thanks again.”

“Bye, Mr. Pierce.”

I hit the drop call button. I carefully replaced the BlackBerry in the shirt pocket that was underneath the bib of my overalls, on the side away from the roadway puddles that passing cars kept splashing through, having previously determined that this was likely to be the least waterlogged region of my person for the next hour or so.

And then I went happily back to seeing how high I could kick the water I was marching through.

In the end it was a very pleasant hour or so, that hour or so that I spent on that walk. I met a couple of hard-core joggers, and occasionally got splashed by a passing car, but for obvious reasons there wasn’t a lot of traffic and the ordinary sounds of town life were largely dampened down (both literally and figuratively). It’s been a long, long time since I went for a nice long country walk in the rain, and I considered that this counted as a more or less reasonable facsimile thereof.

But I have to admit, the hot shower at the end felt really nice.