An adjustment to living in the Pacific Northwest is that you must deny the existence of rain as an event. It is so prevalent as to become What Just Is. When I lived in Colorado, if there was rain you’d better get your ass inside soon because the likelihood was high that golf-ball-sized hail and lightening that comes out of nowhere and goes “PAP!! BOOOOOOM!!” is a-comin’. In Arizona, the monsoon rains meant getting drenched for 15 minutes in the 118 degree heat, and getting the top layer of dust washed off your car. In Wisconsin, rain was just another ridiculous weather happening, along with stagnant sweaty humidity, ice storms on top of snow dumps on top of sleet sheets on top of serial killer evidence, and toddler-tossing tornadoes.

But when it rains all the time or at least for the majority of the year, steady and light, you just get on with it. No one ever bothers with an umbrella. You are just going to get wet whatever you do. As a matter of fact, you really don’t see people wearing proper raincoats much. It’s usually a hoodie or a North Face fleece vest or some other such indifferent garment. MEH, people say to the rain here, MEH! I care not!

At least once a week, I am involved in a conversation with someone that takes place entirely in the rain. There is no move to go inside, or get in your car and talk, or even a comment that, “GEE, WE ARE GETTING REALLY WET, A HA HA.” We get wetter and chillier, the rain splats on my glasses, and all of this is utterly normal. There is no rain, heh heh, look how we speak and gesture as if the sun was shining!

A fabulous addition to the rain and the gray is that there are three million pedestrian crosswalks here. For some reason, people absolutely love to cross streets here anywhere and anytime except where they have a street light with properly-timed walk/don’t walk/run, you fat bastard signs. And the darker and rainier, the better, it seems. And you, if you are driving, must stop for them because it is a whole lot of points off your license to hit a dude and it takes paint off your front bumper. The city even places orange flags by the crosswalks for people to wave wildly as they are crossing to decrease the chances of being tossed into the air by a distracted cell-phone-using rain-soaked Hummer owner. So, as you are driving and to add to the fun that that already is, you must be ever vigilant for the Errant Crosswalker. Your eyes must be trained unfailingly to dart left then right then left at each and every crosswalk, or even when it looks like a pedestrian might suddenly decide that crossing the street NOW is the thing to do. My trust in the pedestrian is eroded, after living here. Or maybe I need new windshield wipers.

There are also a lot of Rain Bicyclists here. They slog alongside me, as I drive, in their rain gear and flashing lights and I wonder how that can even be worth it in any way. God.

I have a feeling that someday I will be somewhere, baking my elderly bones, skin like a distressed leather sofa, and I will still have nightmares about orange flags. By then, my hoodie should be dry.