26 June, 2008

Stormy Nights

6/26/2008 6:15 AM

Tonight was awesome. The past few nights have been a bit chilly, but tonight it stayed relatively warm overnight - in the upper 60's, I believe. I knew there was a storm coming, but it was still dry at around 1-2am, and I was feeling cocky. There was a stretch of street I had scoped out where I thought I could get a good self-portrait, and tonight, that's what I planned to do.

So I got dressed and tossed my camera and tripod into a bag I got as an extra gift from a Gypsy Rose order a while ago. Heading out, I could feel the storm approaching, but it was still dry, and I was feeling confident so I kept going. As it started to rain gradually, I thought of places where I could find some shelter on the way to the spot I was headed for. There's a really nice stone roofed structure at a bus stop (or something) along the local major street, just across from the emergency wing of the hospital. But, overconfident as I was, I passed it and kept going.

I actually walked all the way out to the spot, but by then it had started raining fairly hard - obviously too hard to pull out the camera. And there wasn't as much tree covering on that street as you would think from looking at it. So in desperation, I jogged back a ways to the last intersection, and found a nice evergreen to hide in, behind a row of bushes separating me from the street. I was lucky to find that much tree cover - enough to keep me hidden from the cars passing through the intersection - not that there was any /real/ reason to hide - but it wasn't enough to keep me dry. The bag I had brought wasn't real thick, or particularly good at repelling the rain, but it's a good thing I had /something/ to keep my equipment mostly dry.

I waited for a lull in the downpour, but it kept coming down harder and harder, and I kept getting less and less dry. Finally, after at least half an hour under that tree, the rain let up - slightly. By this point I knew that getting that shot was out of the question, so I headed up the long hill back to that stone roof structure for some more reliable shelter. And after I made it there, it did indeed start raining harder again. So I was still stranded, but at least I wasn't getting any wetter.

Now, if it were just me, I would have just walked on home, not minding the rain so much, but I was concerned about keeping my camera dry, and I didn't know how long that bag was gonna hold up in rain this heavy. So I hung out for a bit. I started thinking about taking some pictures, since I had a roof over me to keep the camera dry. There was a nice view laid out behind the structure, with grass, and the rain lit up by streetlights. I did take a couple shots of just the landscape, but to my disappointment, there was too much activity in the way of cars going past, and in the parking lot of the hospital across the street, that I didn't feel quite safe setting something up. Sigh, oh well.

Here comes the best part. I got tired of waiting for the rain to ease off - it wasn't - and it was starting to get kind of late, so I started accepting the fact that I'd have to walk back in heavy rain. I'd just have to trust the bag to keep my stuff dry. and that's when I decided that I'd walk home naked. It was warm enough, and there's nothing like walking naked in the rain! Beats having heavy clothes dragging you down, that's for sure. I figured, if anybody saw me, then maybe they'd see it that way too and not think it was so strange. At the least, I had the bag to cover the most offending areas in case I felt uncomfortable.

It took me some more time to work up the courage to just do it, but eventually, I undressed in the shadow of the stone arch. Having stood under shelter for a while, my clothes were somewhat dry(ish). At the least, they were damp and not soaked. So I stuffed them in the bag hoping they'd provide some extra buffer between the camera equipment and the rain. I took off my sandals and picked them up, and then proceeded to walk the whole way from the arch across the street from the hospital, back home, completely naked, with only a medium-sized mail-pouch type bag hanging at my side, and my sandals in my hand. It was amazing. And as luck would have it, not a single car passed me!

What an experience. I didn't get the shot I wanted, and it was stupid of me to go out there not expecting to get caught in the storm, but my only regret is forgetting to put in my contacts before I left the house. It was kind of hard to see on the walk home, with my glasses covered in rain drops, and not even a shirt handy to rub them on. But it was still awesome. It felt good to splash my feet in the running puddles, although the road seemed to get rougher closer to home. I started getting a little chilly towards the end of the walk, but it wasn't so bad.

Unloading my things back on the porch, I decided that in lieu of the other shot I wanted to get, this would be a good opportunity to get a good "in the rain" shot. So I set up the tripod in the shelter of the porch and took a bunch of those. Then I went in, practically still dripping, anxious to warm up for a few minutes in the shower. Lucky for me, I had decided on just a quick rinse, because the power went out very shortly after I stepped out of the shower - while I was still drying my hair (initial towel drying - not even the later power dry stage). I can't imagine what I would have done if the power had gone out while I was still in the shower, with no daylight coming through the window to fall back on...

So I lit a candle and listened, but I didn't hear anyone else stirring, so I took the candle out on the porch and sat there with it until it started getting light out (plus I took a few more pictures). It was so beautifully peaceful sitting on that porch with the candle, listening to the rain. I could have easily fallen asleep - the temperature was comfortable, too - not too cool, not too warm. The only thing that could possibly have made life better in that short period of time, would have been sharing it with a beautiful, affectionate woman. Oh well. I can certainly appreciate being alone, too...

With the growing light of dawn came, oddly, a slight chill, so I went inside and pretty much exhausted my ideas for food that didn't require microwaving or toastering. I had a banana, a go-tart (pop-tart in "stick" form, for on-the-go instead of toastering), some chips (tortilla and pizza Pringles), peanut butter and cheese on crackers, and then a small piece of cake. I think it was good enough.

Then it was 6:00, time to hide away before the other denizens of the house wake up, and I put away the candle and flashlight in favor of opening the blinds, since it is now early day. Power's been out for almost three hours, I'd say, now that it's past seven. That's fairly significant. I wonder if it'll come back on in the next hour, or if I'll have to go to sleep without connecting bck to my online existence. I was thinking over breakfast about how we're already plugged into The Matrix - just not as exclusively as in the movie. We all have our personal, individual, electronic entertainment boxes that we retire to - and don't get me wrong, they're great - but it seems like it's separating us from each other, and from real world fun, entertainment, and personal connections...

P.S. When I woke up, the power was still out, but it came back on just before dinner (ironically, just in time for me to blow dry my hair after my regular daily shower). It was out for over 12 hours!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like quite an excellent adventure.

    As for the matrix... I'd kinda say that this stuff connects us more to people rather than less. At least for me. 'Cause I don't typically do anything with anybody, but outside of Leah the only realm where I am still fighting for society's approval is none other than Facebook. I don't know if I'll really keep connected with anybody or not, but if no social networking sites existed... then the only people my age I know would be Leah, Ali, and Levi. Everybody else would have instantly become a stranger over this year of college and other endeavours.