This week, Californians have been in a state of bewilderment. The skies have taken to bizarre, unprecedented behavior, and the state citizens just don't know what to make of it all. In Ventura county... it has been raining. Okay, more than rain. There has been LIGHTNING.
I have to admit that I've been away from stormy weather for so many years that I've forgotten what it feels like to be in such a thing. Rain in Socal is usually light and sporadic, so when it comes in great loads it's discombobulating. I like it a great deal in Ventura, I hated it in LA because that town is NOT built for rain. The irrigation is horrible, LMU always turns into a swamp at the first sign of drizzle (that's how I lost my shoes and nearly got fined returning a soaking wet camera case. that was also the day I had to sit through my film class, in the coldest room on campus, with my clothes soaked through. it was an amusing day, actually, but just a bit frustrating). Anyway, when it really rains in Ventura it's delicious, though always unexpected, and one can see the annoyed effect it has on the people. They're so confused. THEN, yesterday, came a burst of lightning and thunder that shook my house to it's core. Windows rattling and all that. I sat there, thinking there was something I was probably supposed to do, when I heard Melinda, my landlady, in the other room telling one of her pupils (she tutors at the house sometimes) that he should unplug his computer when it thunders. Hahaha. It reminded me of my father's psychotic, frantic unplugging of everything in Texas at the slightest sound of rain. Begrudgingly, I unplugged my laptop, though that turned out to be the last of the lightning for the day.
TODAY however has been interesting-- I worked all day to the tune of vague water pitter-patter (in my back room at my DESK, heck yes), then traversed over here to Coffee Bean. This particular building is somewhat circular, with large windows all the way around. About the time I got here, a lightning storm-- a bona-fide one-- began outside, much to the appreciation of everyone in here. We had pretty much the ideal view of most of the sky, the scattered bolts were all within our line of sight. And there were so many. And it got darker and darker and more and more crackles struck and echoed. The foundations shook, and I have to confess, I actually did feel a little unsettled. I'm too Californian now. Anyway, this went on for about 15 minutes, with the lightning getting closer and closer and louder and louder until BOOM. All of the power in Coffee Bean went out. That's never happened before! To me! In a public place! Well, other than at VC that ONE time, but even then it was ONE lightning strike and dead power for 20 seconds. It took them about 10 minutes here to get the power back. While they were messing with that, what began to fall from the sky? HAIL, children! Real-life tiny hail! I haven't seen hail in... forever. And then it poured rain, glorious rain. By now everyone in here was paying rapt attention to nature's ways, abandoning our useless computers and decaf lattes and gazing at the conflict in the sky. The place was almost completely dark, the usually overpowering lame coffee house music was absent, and the chattery buzz of the coffee bar was gone. Just the sound of water pounding on the roof mixed with the "oohs" and "aahs" of we the spectators. It was a moment of communal awe.
Then, of course, the power returned. The music blared on. Everyone bent back over their projects. If this had been some kind of meeting we would have already forgotten one another's names. I kind of feel like a member of the Breakfast Club come that Monday.
Nature: 1. People: 1 1/2.