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Walking in the Rain - by Rob Moss

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With a shiver of anticipation I zipped up my coat and stepped out into the cold, needling drizzle that is a January day in Banbury. We sentimentally call such weather, “Lancashire drizzle” as every great event I can recall from my childhood in Preston was accompanied by this same non-weather, a grey sky that stubbornly defies any description other than “grey”, the kind of rain that just mooches around, doesn’t really fall on you – you get wet more from walking into it! It’s the kind of weather that makes me homesick for The North that makes ex-pats all over the world dream of England.

As I walked through the town centre I hunched up my shoulders, face down to the pavement and miserably made my way to the library, books zipped inside my coat to keep them dry. People everywhere were doing the same, hunched up tortoise-like dreaming of spring, summer, distant holidays or maybe a warm fire to curl up in front of with a furry cat tummy and hot chocolate for company. Rain dribbled down my neck, in my ears, gradually my hair got wetter and wetter until drops began to meander down my face, stinging my eyes. I huddled tighter into my jacket, pushed my hands further into my pockets and trudged onwards.

I reached the pelican crossing and waited for the traffic lights to change, cars swooshing past, people waiting over the other side of the road……. people …… suddenly I noticed the people. A strange, lucid flash of objectivity made these people seem hilarious to look at. Every one of them huddled tightly into their coats, eyes downwards, shoulders hunched, all sporting their “rainy day faces” – tight scrunched up frowns; they reminded me of the Blackpool supporters wandering home from Deepdale after Preston had put six past them. Misery - cold wet misery. Every drop of rain dribbling down their necks deepened their huddled up misery, with every drop running down their faces they frowned more as though huddling and frowning would somehow make it go away.

I laughed out loud, at them and at myself. I took my hands out of my pockets, took the ridiculous frown off my face, lifted my head and stood up straight. It was a real fight at first, as though my sub-conscious feared getting wet more than it feared getting run-over, more than it feared the scary chief-librarian who examines every library ticket as though it is a forgery.

The traffic lights changed and I continued my walk, head up, smiling. Sure enough I got soaked, but no more soaked than I’d been getting beforehand. The rain dribbled down my neck – brrrrrrrr – but it had been doing that anyway. It got in my eyes, my ears, but it just didn’t seem to irritate me as before. Frowning at the rain hadn’t stopped it raining, hadn’t stopped me getting wet. Smiling at the rain didn’t have much effect either but it took a lot less effort and made the walk a lot more enjoyable.

I can highly recommend, next time you’re out in the rain, lift your shoulders, lift your head, take off that ridiculous “rainy day face” and just accept the rain for what it is – water! Accept, yield, enjoy. If nothing else there’s at least the satisfaction of smiling knowingly at the miserable rain-fighters who suspect you may just be some kind of lunatic!

Rob Moss - RDTC Banbury