This week finds me suddenly and unexpectedly sojourning through the land of my youth. It is a reflective time, an opportunity to visit old haunts, reacquaint myself with long-lost friends and face some forgotten ghosts. I am here on my own—no adult supervision—and I find it strange to be so far away from my wife for such a long time. For the past ten years she has been at my side almost constantly, and now here I am back in my old home town, free to run with scissors and stay up past my bed time.
This would be a marvelous opportunity to explore the arc of the expat’s life, or delve into the “what ifs” of a life left behind, or ruminate on the nature of home and the aching nostalgia for youth and times past. But instead I’m going to complain about the weather.
As you know (or you jolly well should if you’ve been paying attention) Sussex has been under water for the past three months. After a long, wonderful stretch of lovely weather, that culminated in late March in the most glorious week of sun and blue sky I have seen in ten years, the event I had been promising the doomsayers (they of the “we’re having a drought, we’re all going to die” persuasion) happened: it rained.
And it rained. And it rained. The weeks from the beginning of April through the middle of July conspired to make 2012 the wettest year in the history of the solar system (barring that bit with Noah some years ago). I accepted it with the usual British stoicism (“well, we really need the rain”), ironic humor (“Strange that we are still in ‘drought’ while the villages are being swept away by flood water”) and, eventually, the basic British attitude toward the weather: after ten year in Britain, I finally got it—the weather sucks.
By mid-July I was so very sick of rain and grey skies and low clouds and cold. On a recent weekend, my wife and I spent a Sunday afternoon sitting on the sofa wrapped in blankets, sipping hot tea and reading books, snug and comfy while the wind blew and cold rain battered the windows, which might have constituted a perfect afternoon if it had happened in February instead of the middle of sodding July.
And so, when it came to pass that I was to return to my homeland, I can’t say I was sorry to leave the dreary weather behind. My hometown, like much of the US, was suffering through a long spell of hot, dry weather and, despite the fact it is devastating crops and wreaking general havoc, I thought a week or so in the sunshine would do me a world of good.
But you already know this is not what happened. You know this, not because you have been studying weather maps for the past week (as I have) but because you understand (or soon will) that Sod’s Law is the fundamental foundation of the universe. Forget the Higgs Boson Particle, when they manage to dig further and find what’s behind it, they will find Sod’s Law underpinning everything. So here is the brief story of my quest for sunshine, you’ll know it’s true because you can’t make this stuff up:
I left Britain in grey, damp weather wearing a jacket. I arrived to a glorious summer night. The next day summer weather suddenly returned to Sussex, and rain arrived in NY. Now, while I have experienced some stunning interludes of sunshine and warm weather, every day that I have been here has had at least some rain and, overall, the skies have remained cloudy. It rained yesterday, it is raining as I write this—a steady, soaking rain that looks as if it is here for the day—and the worst thing is, the people here are cheering it.
Back home, of course, my wife reports warm weather and blue skies (and I checked the Met weather site—she’s not just having a laugh, it really is nice over there, sometimes warmer than it is here).
I have one more day here, and the forecast is for rain. I’ll be back in sunny Sussex soon, but the forecast for the day I return is—you guessed it—rain.
I’m thinking they should start sending me to areas of the world that are in severe drought; they could well use the rain, and it would be quite an achievement to finally harness Sod’s Law and use its power for good. As far as benefit to mankind goes, it would be much more useful than the Higgs Boson Particle.