Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Day I Wet Myself In Cuenca

This is the first time this has happened to me. Here.

Back home, sure, I've been through it. When you move to Western Washington you have to deal with it, for months, every year. It starts in the fall — say about the end of October. Maybe the third week of October if you're slightly unlucky, or sometime in November if you are a bit lucky, but in the fall sometime.

And there are exceptional years, like last year, when the problems began at the end of August. Or, going in the other direction, like, say, 2003 was it? I'm not sure any more, but there was definitely nothing happening until way, way into November. Way into November. Very unusual. And pleasant, too.

I'm originally from the Northern Plains, as they are called. Way north there where times are tough, where the summers are hot and dry and buggy, and the winters are cold and dry and crunchy (the ground is, anyway, when you walk on it, being all frozen and everything). And anyway, it's different there, but when I moved to Western Washington, I had to get used to wetting out, and that went on for a long time, and now I'm in Cuenca, and that was another change.

Another change which itself changed today. This is the day I wet myself. Here.

Because it's raining. During the day. And not a thunder shower, or a shower at all, but drizzle. Drizzle doesn't happen here.

This is my third winter here, winter being the span of months that includes December and its neighbor, January. Although technically, here, just a nibble and lick south of the equator, those months include mid-summer as judged by the sun. But I'm here, again, for the third time, and this is unusual.

September, October, November, December, January — they're really dry, and sunny. This is nice. It has been 38 years since I moved out of North Dakota but I still remember winter. The last year I lived there I worked outside. The coldest day was -35°F when I walked to work that morning, and the high for the day was -7°F (-37 & -22 C, respectively).

It's not like that here. Typically, in December and January, the high for the day may be 65 to 70 degrees F (18 - 21 degrees C), but the sun adds about a thousand degrees on top of that, if you go and stand in it. It actually feels sometimes like your back is on fire, so you cross the street and walk on the shady side. But there's no rain.

Except at night, or in the late afternoon when a random thunderstorm rolls in, or sometimes if there is too much moisture in the air blowing in from the Amazon Basin, and there are a few sprinkles sometime after lunch. But not all day.

Like today. Days like today don't happen here. Until now, I guess.

Sure, I've spent three of my winters here, and that isn't all that much, but this is an el Niño year, so maybe that's it. It's wet. Outside. Today. And the day keeps re-wetting itself. And I have to go out there. So I'll be wetting myself today. Which will be a novel experience here, though not one I relish.

Because for the last few years anyway I've prided myself on not wetting myself. Shoot.

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