Thursday, November 09, 2006

How to Walk your City in the Rain

This post, from the very onset, is asundry with prejudication. I will list them briefly...
1. You can read (a skill assumed by photonic activation by the inherent promiscuity of rods and cones and occipital nerves etc. as needed to reassemble semantic signifers encoded within a predeterminate writ)
2. You can read English
3. You have legs where they should be
4. You go into and through areas where rain is known to occur (if the word 'outside' seems foreign to you, not only is your last name not likely Proust or Frank, but you should really be busying yourself in preparation for the inevitable YouTube.com meltdown)

I have an aversion to umbrellas. This may be some vestigal Londoner rebellian emerging, but I suspect it is more. I strongly believe there is a way to commute in moderate rain without a) rain gear and b) getting wet. All you need is a hoody and the warming layers beneath. Here I must revert to pointform.

* walking is a mode of fluidly navigating surfaces. the walker is approached by manifold surfaces as she travels: brick, glass, paint, sheet metal, baby, cotton, poo, wheeled things, cord, plastic - - - everything. the walker need constantly be aware of jeopardy. simply, walking is perilous.
* because the walker is already necessarily aware of her surroundings, it is a minute conditional adjustment to prepare for adverse environmental hazards. in this case: rain.
* rain, though indiscrimminately invasive as a barrage of micro-surfaces, is still subject to the same fluidity of surface as the walker. so viewed, there can be anticipatory preparation and momentary improvisation.
* say 'no' to umbrellas. this is not to say that they are not wonderful and fun to carry (especially when closed), imparting a sense of dignity and presence to the bearer, insulating him from external influence. however, they are dangerous: as eye-rakers, surely, but also achieving a false sense of imperviousness that might unbalance the bearer's sense of worldly proportion. in short, umbrellas keep clothes dry but dampen awareness by virtue of illusory separation.
* use a hoody. not only will this protect you from peripheral umbrella eye-jabs, but the feel of the environment on the fabric will serve to extend your senses. like a spider in the center of her web, information will in.
* rain is manipulated by surface. the wind forms a virtual surface, and pushes rain at its whim. so, while walking, be sure to notice the direction of the wind. on a particular side of a street, you will find a rain shadow (wind blowing west, walk on east side of street: no droplets.) if awnings are available (commercial areas) you can either walk beneath them, or avoid them altogether. they protect the static from rain, but not so well the mobile. other umbrellas will spit and dribble on you (however, walking a few steps behind a quick umbrella wielder will clear a path for you so's to assist the avoidance other umbrellas.)
* the speed and manner of how the walker walks will heavily affect how much rain she receives. a geezer once told me the theory that you will get wetter while running that while walking, the belief of which i've not yet commited (many variables: rapidity, size of runner/walker, wind direction etc.) the walker need not walk sideways, but they can reduce the ability of the rain to hit them: by movement of the shoulders and stride length, by the gait. through practice, the walker will be able to avoid most of what would otherwise hit them. this is not dodging, but another form of surface navigation.

All this to say, you WILL get wet, but only slightly and definitely not the type that engenders discomfort, and the gain: you will be able to enjoy the cadence and magically quickened world as revealed under the rain. yes, this is a martial art. please use it to impress your soft, cab-hailing friends.

5 comments:

H said...

Thanks for the guide, Thomas. I have to say though, that it sounds like an awful lot of work; work that my fluorescent pink umbrella could save me!

karla said...

There's nothing better than getting a chance to read a post that uses the word "asundry." Love that word. Go, Thomas!

S'Mat said...

h - so right. today i sheepishly recant all the pomp and swaggery of this pseudo-theory. it's all well and fine to try and flex fairweather courage, but on a day like today, where the only sensible advice would be to sandbag your windows like a 'Pegger and bust out the old comic book stash, a fluorescent pink umbrella sounds regal and essential.

k - i dislike using words willy-nilly when more exact things are more suitable. for example, i abhor the fact that i thought to use 'willy-nilly' (like a bad UK Bobbitt joke punchline that one) loose quantifiers like 'more' and the ever-grim 'thing'. 'higgledy-piggledy' would've been wickeder... however, i have no problem using words that apparently don't exist, like 'asundry' (a weak mashing of asunder and sundry, i'm guessing?) thanks for the Go, i'll try and deserve it...

Eve said...

Don't forget the footwear -- plastic baggies are good for more than just picking up dog shit. Or you can wear plastic sandals, although this is contingent on warmer weather.

Lindz said...

Easy for you to say - ye of the short if not non existant hair. But those of us who are slaves to our straightening irons and our blowdryers and, admittedly, are somewhat vain about our hair, are not so eager to ruin hours of labour with a little misting.
I was so excited the day I found my bright orange folding umbrella...so small it fits in my evening bag.
That being said, if I'm on my way home, or I'm drunk, or I feel like throwing caution to the wind, I'll dispense even with the hoody and just go au naturel. I do love a good rain walk. I think I have well refined duck-like qualities from growing up on the wet coast. I love to splash in the puddles too.