Rain brain strain

There are some aspects of winter in the Cape that are rather tiresome. The rain is one of them. The brain-melting effect it seems to have on my fellow Capetonians is worrying in the extreme. The vehicular mayhem that inevitably results from a light drizzle is one of the more obvious examples, but there are subtler, more insidious effects. I’ve seen people dash across busy intersections without so much as a glance left or right, because they would (apparently) rather be roadkill than get wet. And of course, people continue to buy umbrellas*.

Closer to home, my wife becomes forgetful when it rains. Our conversation this morning is a typical illustration: Mrs Kyknoord asked me, “May I use your raincoat?”
I responded (not unkindly), “No. I need it.”
“But it’s raining.”
“Indeed. That’s why I need it.”
“But I’ve left my umbrella** at work.”
“What about your raincoat?”
“That’s also at work.”
“Ah. Dear heart, please don’t think me unsympathetic, but if I forgot my raincoat at work, I certainly wouldn’t expect you to loan me yours.”
“But you NEVER leave your raincoat at work.”

This may seem brutish of me, but if I let her use my raincoat, not only would I get soaked today, but she would forget the damned thing at work and I would get soaked tomorrow, too. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way. Frankly, I’d rather be dry and have her pissed off at me than be a sodden martyr.

* An utterly pointless waste of time and money in Cape Town. The wind blows a lot here in winter. The only way to prevent your umbrella from blowing inside-out is not to use it at all. Umbrella-wrestling is something of a local sport, not entirely unlike kite-surfing.

** Umbrella #3 for 2005


24 thoughts on “Rain brain strain

  1. Saw on the news that the weather in CT is terrible for the second day in a row. Growing up in CT, the one thing I will NEVER miss is the cold and wet, windy winters.
    As for Mrs KN – yet another case where I’d like my lack of planning to become your crisis. 🙂


  2. yesterday’s weather was terrible. not only was it flooding around my neighborhood, my poor Becky (car) was left outside to be howled at. and not being able to open one’s flat windows is enough to intoxicate me with stale air, especially living in a tiny bachelor.

    i love winter. really, i do. but there must be a limit to its extremity.


  3. anne: Well, you know that they say “Cape Town is the Paris of Africa”. Actually they don’t, but at least now there is a pretext to do so.

    chitty: I suppose it’s my own fault, really. Over the years, I have become… [rumble of thunder] MINORCRISISMAN [brass fanfare]. Lightbulb not working? Call MinorCrisisMan. Toilet paper finished? Call MinorCrisisMan. Dinner burnt? Call MinorCrisisMan. No rain gear? You get the picture.


  4. Well, we HAVE had 2 weeks of lovely spring weather to spoil us, and the dams DO need to be filled up a bit more before we go swimming in them…

    But depriving someone else of their moisture protection? – no way!


  5. LOL! U put ur foot down, KN! I, too carry a brolly – one of those fold-up efforts that fit in my handbag, cos in Dublin it rains most days, even if just for a little while. However, it often requires too much effort to try find it at the bottom of my bag when I need it, and I’ve become so used to being rained on that now I’m quite happy to just get wet. Haven’t melted yet!


  6. eKapa: Yow. Rough night. I mostly prefer winter to summer. Mostly, but not always.

    michelle: I would be more sympathetic towards her plight if it wasn’t a self-inflicted wound. If you reward the scatterbrained, you only encourage them in their scatterbrainy ways.

    terri: On the ‘who-wears-the-pants-in-this-house-O-meter’, I’m almost halfway up to ‘boxer shorts’ level.


  7. I’d love nothing more than to have you spend a day with me experiencing one of my winters. This past winter, we spent weeks on end not rising above a temp of 20F. That means it is also too cold for the salt to melt snow and ice on the roads so they simply leave the roads untreated. We gathered an average of 8″ of snow daily (yes, each day) during our worst storms. Although I fully understand the stupidity of the people + rain equation, I’d take that over my winters anyday! Well, either that, or like I said, invite you and MrsK up to entertain me with your bantering during my winter days! =) (And yes, I do see you now… distinctly third tree on the left…) You could also buy your wife a box of large plastic trash bags and when she ‘forgets’ her raincoat, turn one upside down and cut holes for her head and arms. She may start remembering it…


  8. When I left an old job a few years ago to move here to *glorious* Augusta I had to clean out my office. Packing things up I came across 12 umbrellas!!!!!! TWELVE!! Who DOES that?

    And now, I have no umbrellas.


  9. livewire: Brrr (I’ve just checked and 20F is 7 degrees below freezing on the Celsius scale). The only place you find temperatures as low as that in Cape Town would be on top of the mountain for about 2 seconds at 3 a.m. on the coldest day of winter once every ten years or so. Maybe you should rather come here, instead.

    IITQ: Forries continues the fine tradition of a warm winter-time refuge.

    anon: It may also interest you to know that all Cape Town registered cars have CA on the number plate. Long way from California, though.

    paintingchef: Twelve? Scary. How did you manage to hide them all away? I suspect that you and my spouse may have a few things in common.


  10. boertjie: LOL. Ant to think that a couple of years ago, I would have sputtered indignantly at that “not getting any” bit. Sigh.

    paul: Rain, rain, not so bad / Soaking wife, very sad

    lyn: You see, it’s all that early training that has stood you in good stead. Cape Town misses you, though.


  11. This is sounding un-nervingly like the dressing-gown related conversations I have with my husband, who insists on only wearing the garment TO the bathroom and then getting dressed after his shower and forgetting to bring them back.

    Inconvenient with people staying in the house … however, I am gradually purchasing more and more outrageously feminine robes to try and psych him out :).


  12. What really improved the rain experience for me today was that the city council (in their wisdom) decided it was a good day to do roadworks on Table Bay Boulevard. Traffic was slowed to about 2kph during lunchtime while I was trying to run a quick errand. Doh!


  13. ally: I feel your pain. I hope the ‘outrageously feminine’ robe idea works and doesn’t encourage him…

    ZGrrl: I hereby nominate your commissioner of the North American Umbrella Wrestling League, or NAUWL for short. I can’t wait for the New Orleans franchise to kick off.

    bee: Why does this not surprise me? These are the same cretins who insist on starting roadworks projects at the beginning of the festive season and then immediately going on holiday for a month (leaving gaping holes and other traffic obstructions all over the place).

    cyli: I’m a right bastard, aren’t I?


  14. Holly shit I’m an idiot, she doesn’t go to cape town she goes to Bridgetown in Barbados! I just finally caught on you were in south africa. Of course I could delete my above comment but I want to world to know what an idiot I am. 😉


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