Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Love a Rainy Day

There's something about this weather that affects people.

It's like being at the beach on a stormy day, except without the ocean. When I got up, my apartment felt chilly, but when I went down to get the newspaper, I found it was surprisingly warm outside.

Immediately, I threw all the windows open and changed clothes.

Then I was off to the eye doctor in bike shorts. When he walked in the examining room, it was the first thing he commented on. "Taking advantage of the weather today, I see." Sure am. Some of us detest the cold.

After going through part of the exam, he asked how I was doing, aside from "deploring the oncoming season." I've been going to this doctor for years and we know a little about each other, at least as much as you can know when you only see someone once a year.

For instance, I know he's on the board of the VMFA and the Smithsonian and that he's an art collector. He knows I'm a writer and restaurant reviewer, so he asked for a recommendation.

Shifting gears back to my eyes, he asks if I ever got my glasses prescription filled, knowing full well I didn't. I haven't worn glasses since 1979 and I remind him I'm a contact lens person, morning 'till night.

So he starts lecturing me about oxygenating my corneas and giving my eyes a break by not wearing my contacts every waking second like I do. This is something new, a caveat he's never given me before. I ask if I'm getting this warning because of my age.

"You're still hot," he says, surprising me and apparently trying to offer some consolation by sharing his age.

I experience the briefest second wondering if doctors are supposed to tell patients they're hot, but it's a fraction of the time I spend enjoying the compliment.

After asking if there's any point in writing me a glasses prescription, he does, as well as one for contacts, then instructs me to take my lenses out more often and come back in a year. We both know we could have talked much longer, but also that other patients are waiting.

Same time next year, doc.

Back home, I walk into a misty swampland home. Every glass surface, every window, every mirror - especially bad are the two over the fireplaces, which are original to this 1876 house - is fogged over as the warm outside air met the cold fixtures of my formerly closed up apartment. My thick plaster walls and heart pine floors are shiny with moisture. The black and white linoleum in the hallway looks like it was just mopped. It wasn't.

Welcome to Damp Land.

When I leave for my walk in shorts, I spot people in jackets and hats. Either they've based their attire on yesterday's weather or they're sweating bullets under so many layers. I, on the other hand, am perfectly comfortable and, I might add, dressed appropriately for the weather.

There's a small, warehouse-like building I often pass as I'm leaving for my walk and anytime I see the guy inside working, I call out hello. He usually has NPR on and a dog or two lounging nearby, but he'll at least wave as I go by.

I call out on my way by and get as far as the next building when I hear him calling to me.

"I thought you'd moved since I haven't seen you in a while!" he hollers. Well, this is something new. He's come outside to talk to me for the first time in years of walking by him. I explain my recent absence, we introduce ourselves and I ask about what he does and where he does it, fascinated to learn that his building used to be the Markow Florist warehouse.

But where we're not soul mates is when I rave about the weather. "I'm not too excited about going home and having my house be 80 degrees," he says. Why not? I'd be thrilled.

Closer to City Hall, a man walks by, looks at my legs, then my face and exclaims (there's no other word for how it came out of his mouth), "Those shorts!" then gulps and grins like a fool. Yep, those shorts are ideal for a 72-degree day, aren't they, sir?

Funny how 90% humidity loosens some people's tongues. Me, I'm all about the warmth.

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