Thursday, September 30, 2010

Scotch Mist

Tropical Storm Nicole is moving east following the preferred hurricane route this year of aiming toward Bermuda. Lucky them, even though this one appears to be fading fast.I woke early after a night spent sitting up doing not much at all at work. There were a few calls for people sleeping on porches, drunks and vagrants presumably who hoped not to get spotted as the rain came drumming down from time to time. Life in Old Town Key West is one unpleasant adventure after another. It seems if you aren't rowing over parking or loud parties with your neighbors you stand an excellent chance of having your bicycle or your garden furniture stolen or even of having someone decide to use your porch as a bedroom. I get a jaundiced view of life in police dispatch.After breakfast Cheyenne looked at me as though it was time for a walk. Great, thought I, this is one of those days that being owned by a dog is a total pain in the ass. We set out for Big Pine Key, a place where perhaps we could find a not too flooded street to walk.As I turned onto Highway One it was obvious the forecast of north winds had been supplanted by actual east winds which were blowing a solid wall of rain at us. I turned north onto Middle Torch Key to see if we could snatch a walk before the impending downpour. Wikipedia has a nice description of the term Scotch Mist: The term given to a light, steady drizzle, the name being typical of the Scottish penchant for understatement. Loathe though I am to offer up definitions, I could not describe it better myself. I am not fond of rain and I was not enjoying Cheyenne's bathroom stroll. All this and a bag of warm dog shit to carry around...She was enjoying finding the exact right spot. For some reason this cormorant decided we were invading his space and he seemed to think it was a better option to flap off into the teeth of the storm.In the back of my mind I have this romantic notion that perhaps a cold winter storm or a snowfall or a blizzard or something might be fun at least for a short while, simply as a change from a bland diet of warm or warmer. I read a couple of Alaska blogs in my web list and I marvel at how people in the Arctic Circle flens bloody animals while dressed in clothing so heavy no one in Key West would own such an outfit, far less wear one. They smile contentedly at the camera, collars open as though enjoying a brisk summer day at the beach. The countryside more closely resembles a fluffed white bed sheet than anything I would remotely consider to be proper land and dirt and plants. "Hmm, " I think to myself, "I could manage that, I know I could." Then I find myself stepping out into an 80 degree afternoon with horizontal slashing rain and I wonder why my dog can't spend an afternoon curled up with me and a book.
Claustrophobia is not something I think about much but when the great outdoors is reduced to a wall of water and blackened skies I find myself getting antsy.
We drove to the end of the road on Big Torch, some eight miles from Highway One and found a momentary respite from the rain which had yet to catch up to us. We walked in the bushes and pretended it was just another day in the Lower Keys. Bored youngsters had spread electric colored graffiti on the barrier at the end of the road and had drilled rubber doughnut holes into the asphalt. We were alone with the wind and the patter of drizzle on the leaves and the cawing of some miserable bird lamenting it's fate in a raucous drone across the bushes. It felt like the end of the world.
Wet and droopy we got back in the car.
Really, Tropical Storm Nicole, all of 35 miles per hour was a total bust. We had some sunshine before dark with the promise of more warm rain for another twenty four hours. I must be a terrible weather pansy.