Weather outside isles is frightful
JUST returned from vacation and a trip to the Northwest where I was reminded that they have this really terrible stuff on the mainland. This stuff is a real problem, and nobody seems to be doing anything about it. I think it's called "weather," but it doesn't seem to resemble what we call "weather" here in Hawaii.
The brand of weather they have in Oregon and Washington state involves partly scattered, monsoon-type rains in the morning, increasing to a mostly flooding deluge in the afternoon and concluding in the evening with pleas by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to march various animals two by two to arks stationed in key locations around the states.
This is a peculiar type of rain that does not fall in warm drops vertically as it does in the islands, but shoots horizontally at speeds reaching Mach 4 directly at your eyeballs and at temperatures emperor penguins would find distressing. The freezing rain never quite turns to snow, apparently because that might cause some enjoyment.
Despite the cold and liquid nature of the environment, I noticed people outdoors, working in parks and along roadways as if it were just another day. Upon seeing these deranged souls, I'd lower my rental car window a crack and scream, "Go to your homes! Flee! Sit by a fire with a warm toddy until June!"
But they wouldn't listen. I actually saw someone jogging in conditions that Shackleton would not have exposed himself to, and hoped that person was jogging to San Diego.
HAVING ATTENDED Oregon State University, I was familiar with the general sogginess of the area. But time had somehow blunted my memories of the true frightening quality of the wetness. When the local TV meteorologist uses the term "saturation" optimistically, you know things are bad.
Something should be done about the weather, particularly in Oregon, where I saw a beaver in a snorkel and mask clinging to the top of a tall fir tree. The legislature should pass a sternly worded resolution ordering the rain to cease and desist or face legal action by the attorney general. That, or set aside funds to provide visiting tourists with scuba gear.
Meanwhile, it's good to be home. I'm hoping a doctor will be able to correct the webbing that developed between my toes.
Charles Memminger, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists' 2004 First Place Award winner for humor writing, appears Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org