As I was getting hit in the face with horizontal rain, I bookmarked the following thoughts:
▪ Running mascara stings the eyeballs.
▪ When one is trapped outside, cloud-to-ground lightning bolts are a disturbing sight.
▪ People who can run 6-minute miles are lucky. Also, I’m not one of them.
▪ Never trust a weather app.
▪ Water is wet.
I should have known better. This was not my first meteorological rodeo. Chalk it up to either stupidity or a side effect of living in the Midwest, but it seems I’m becoming a pro at attracting barreling storm fronts when I’m nowhere near shelter.
The mistakes I made that day were a combination of magical thinking and too much app reliance. About 30 minutes before this latest episode, I was well aware it was iffy outside. I debated whether or not to go on my usual 4-mile trek. A tap on my phone’s simple weather icon indicated storms wouldn’t hit for a few hours. Perfect.
Outside it was overcast and all dew-pointy (whatever that is). The atmosphere gave me pause. I had felt that mystical pre-storm hum before. But I really needed a walk to fend off stress. It was too tempting to hoof it and soak in a distracting podcast.
I decided to believe the abbreviated forecast on the tiny cell screen. I dutifully tucked the phone in my fanny pack but kept the ear bud connection tethered to each side of my thick skull.
Record scratch. Wait, what? A fanny pack? Allow me to explain: I was wearing a pocket-less polyester Costco skort.
Second record scratch. Huh? Say again? A pocket-less polyester Costco skort? With a fanny pack? Yep. It seems I have given up, except for when it comes to being somewhat rigid about daily exercise.
So there I was, a double-threat to fashion, happily dorking down the street. The latest NPR Fresh Air episode was slicing through the humidity and any shred of self-awareness. It was heavenly.
But exactly at the halfway point, near the spot where I normally turn around, my phone dinged. A text from my husband. Though he was in another part of the metro, he knew at that time I was likely out on my walk.
He informed me that his fancier radar app indicated a big purple blob approaching the edge of my route. He inquired about my exact location; I could not have been any farther from our front door. He suggested I hurry home, albeit in more colorful, urgent language.
I pivoted. Was that a drop of wet on my arm? And another? It was time to switch the pace to a skort-flapping jog.
The wind picked up. As did the rain. I stopped only to dig into my trusty hip holster to fish out a spare plastic dog waste bag. (I’m chic on the inside as well.) There was no time or dry space to turn off the podcast or call a friend for an emergency pickup. In went my phone, earbuds and Terry Gross still chattering away.
The storm front exploded. I kept running, almost as fast as my mascara. I was hoping one of the folks in the gazillion passing cars would know me and offer a ride, because that has happened at least twice before. No luck. And I confess, I was miffed at all the roomy SUVs splashing by me. I would have likely declined a ride, because Mayberry no longer exists, but an offer would have been nice. Was it my outfit?
I had no choice but to carry on. It was me versus nature. One foot in front of the other. I zigged and zagged away from big trees. I leaped over puddles. With every thunder boom, my pace hastened. I became a temporary athlete, my own super hero. Skort Woman.
This whole recount might be dripping with metaphors, but it also begs the question: Is there a common sense app?