It’s a good thing I live in England. There wouldn’t be nearly enough rain anywhere else. How could anyone bear to live in a desert, deprived of that reassuring splashy-sploshy sound, those puddly, half-empty streets, that blessed curtain of anonymity? How do people think of anything to talk about where there is neither rain nor the possibility of rain?
And of course, it’s raining today. Earlier on I found some shoes and a mac and shuffled up to the post box with a letter. I live in an unmade road, and all its craters were full of muddy water. Sparrows were bathing. Where do sparrows bathe where there is no rain? What do sparrows drink? Or perhaps where there is no rain there are no sparrows. Coming back I met my down-the-end-of-the road neighbour – hooded, wellington-booted, stout walking stick in one hand and the end of Big Puppy’s lead in the other. Big Puppy is no longer a puppy and has a proper name which I’ve got written down somewhere for Christmas card purposes – something inappropriate – Charles or Montmorency.
Well, what do you think if this then? she remarks, not stopping.
Lovely for August, isn’t it? I reply, also not stopping.
They say it’s set in for the week, she chuckles, disappearing round the bend.
Now, what else could we have discoursed about with such convenient brevity, without having to get wetter than we already were?
My next-door neighbour just got a dog too. Huge, long-leggety beastie. Midnight black. I think of him as Baskerville although he may be a lady; I can’t see his undercarriage in that much detail from my spy-window on the upstairs landing. He/she has a very deep woof. Every night starting about 11pm he/she conducts long, lovelorn conversations across my back garden and under my bedroom window for what feels like hours with Millicent, the chocolate labradoodle on the other side :
- Woof? Woof?
And then other dogs stationed all over the hillside join in.
Come spring I may need move house. But it’s possible Baskerville will have moved on by then. Maybe he’s the school dog and it’s Neighbour’s turn to look after him in the summer holidays, as is the case with class guinea pigs, class rats etc. Maybe he belongs to her second-cousin who’s gone to Spain for six weeks and will shortly return to claim him.
They say particular personality types are attracted to rain. According to the internet (so it must be true) these types tend to be INFP on the Myers-Briggs typology:
Creative, smart, idealist, loner, attracted to sad things, disorganized, avoidant, can be overwhelmed by unpleasant feelings, prone to quitting, prone to feelings of loneliness, ambivalent of the rules, solitary, daydreams about people to maintain a sense of closeness, focus on fantasies, acts without planning, low self-confidence, emotionally moody, can feel defective, prone to lateness, likes esoteric things, wounded at the core, feels shame, frequently losing things, prone to sadness, prone to dreaming about a rescuer, disorderly, observer, easily distracted, does not like crowds, can act without thinking, private, can feel uncomfortable around others, familiar with the darkside, hermit, more likely to support marijuana legalization, can sabotage self, likes the rain, sometimes can’t control fearful thoughts, prone to crying, prone to regret, attracted to the counter culture, can be submissive, prone to feeling discouraged, frequently second guesses self, not punctual, not always prepared, can feel victimized, prone to confusion, prone to irresponsibility, can be pessimistic.
I did the test out of interest and came out INFJ which is, if anything, worse. Very similar description. Where does that bit about marijuana legalization come from? And familiar with the darkside? Wot, like Darth Vader?
At least I am now in an appropriate profession, if you can call it a profession when you don’t make any money from it. Writers, unsurprisingly, fall into INFP and INFJ as do poets, painters, musicians, songwriters, art historians, library assistants, cartoonists, philosophers, environmentalists, bookstore owners… Can’t you just see us all?
- Stringy beards…
- Oxfam tank-tops…
But still I do like rain, even if it does consign me to some morbid, sad-sack, creative psycho-ghetto. As a child on my daily walk to the station to catch the train to school, I would pass an allotment plot with a wire fence. When it had been raining I used to tap the wires to release the raindrops collected on the wires. It was a kind of magic. Impossible to think about double maths when tapping raindrops. As a teenager, when I first began to realise I was going to have to be a writer I used to imagine myself living alone in a kind of shed with a tin roof in the middle of a forest. The tin roof was important. In my fantasy there was an ancient black typewriter like the one I taught myself to touch-type on, and it was always raining. Rain on the tin roof. Rain in the forest outside. Rain and writing, writing and rain. Now I am older I think I might include a threadbare sofa, a loaf of crusty bread, a pot of jam and a cat or two.
Later I liked to watch the blue or orange reflections of street lights in puddles at night, and I enjoyed those old fifties films where it always seemed to be raining. Singing in the Rain has to be the rain film of all rain films. All that joyous splashing about. Not that I’d ever do that. Dance. Splash about. Joyously. None of that carry-on.
In any case, here I am, not in a rainy forest with a typewriter but on a stormy hillside with a word-processor and the incessantly Woooooofing Baskerville for company. Oh, and now some lunatic has decided to start some chain-sawing-in-the rain two roads up. People – it’s people who spoil things. Ooops – INFJ-ing again.
Gene Kelly Singing in the Rain, of course. Doesn’t it remind you of when you are a child and you see a ginormous puddle and you just have to….
And this link is to the original Everly Brothers’ version of Crying In The Rain. They were so young and beautiful at the time. YouTube also has one of them some years later and somewhat chubbier. By this time something sad seems to have happened, either to them or the song. It’s all very glitzy but they sound like they’re singing at half speed.