Things I learned while walking in the rain
No, DON'T ask me why I walked in the pouring rain. No, DON'T. DON'T.
Oh! You are so demanding. Can't a woman just tell a story without having to give all the detail?
Alright, then. If you get bored before you even get to the main event, on your own head be it.
Here's the reason I was walking in the rain (for those who just HAVE to know EVERYTHING) ...
I was meeting a friend at the theatre to watch a show. And I had to take the bus. (Don't get excited, Amanda - this is not another bus story - this is the first in a thrilling series of 'damp pedestrian' posts.)
I was due to meet my friend at the theatre at 7pm. But the bus timetable just didn't work out like that which means I got off the bus at 6.30pm, right there, right outside the theatre. So I could have gone in and sat there on my own, waiting.
But you feel such an eejit, don't you, just sitting in a foyer, pretending to be happy alone? It takes so much effort, getting the facial expressions right, and crossing your legs just so, and trying to look like you're thinking, 'Yes, I do have a watch, but I don't need to look at it, because I feel totally secure' and texting people with banalities, interrupting their evening meal and causing them to say, 'Fran must be waiting alone somewhere - she always texts from foyers' and reading your book but then getting to the last page and having to pretend to read the last three chapters again because the only other thing you have in your bag is a letter from the doctor about a gynaecological procedure. All so tedious.
I couldn't face it.
So I walked for half an hour in the rain. The theatre is on a long main road. I decided that if I walked down the road for 15 minutes, crossed the road, and then walked back the other way for 15 minutes, that would be .. that would be ... 15 + 15 = 30, so ... that would take me exactly half an hour. Excuse me while I just take a call from the Mathematics Faculty at Oxford University ... 'Hello? Hello? Yes, Fran Hill. No, no, sorry, not available for any lecturing this week ... yes, I know, it's a shame, but I'm sure you'll get someone .... no? no one as good as I am? sorry, sorry, no can do.'
Sorry about that. They keep ringing! Where was I? Oh yes ...
... And while I walked in the dark as rain lashed down, pleased that I wasn't in a dry foyer feeling like a loser, I learned some stuff.
What I meant to write in the first place
Lessons learned while walking in the rain.
1. There is a direct correlation between the vigour with which you protest to your husband, 'Of course they're waterproof' about your boots and the amount of water that seeps into your socks within the first three minutes of walking.
2. Broken umbrellas by the roadside may well look as tragic as homeless waifs or injured dogs. But bending down and examining them as though you were going to offer them a pound or a cheese roll makes you look very silly.
3. Puddles are less easily seen in the dark, but just as deep.
4. When both your trouser legs are fully soaked from below the knee downwards and flap against your shins like escaped tarpaulins, you will suddenly feel as though being lonely in a foyer is a good thing.
5. One reason why walking in one direction seems easy and walking in the other direction seems much more difficult is wind speed. It is better to make the journey back the one where the wind is with you.
6. Houses along the side of the road, when you're walking in the wind and rain, all have soft yellow lighting in their living rooms, the murmur of a TV coming from a downstairs window, cars in the drive and a pizza delivery man just approaching the porch.
7. There is one main reason why you don't meet anyone on this kind of walk.
8. When the wind is coming towards you and you hold the umbrella in front to shield you from it, you will see the approaching bicycle just too late.
9. If the pavement is flooded and impassable, you have two choices: grass-verge mudbath at one edge of the pavement, or road with speeding cars at the other. Take the mud - it's unpleasant, but less likely to result in a near death experience.
10. Watching a sensitive and poignant play will have the edge taken off it when your legs are wrapped in what feels like seaweed, you have nowhere to put your umbrella except between your knees, and the coat laid on your lap is masquerading as a dishcloth.