When I was a kid, there was an oft-aired television commercial for Cream of Wheat which showed a bowl of this steaming hot cereal floating in the air behind a kid who had eaten it for breakfast. It followed him around everywhere he went…to school, out on the playground, etc. This resulted in lots of sudden glances over my shoulder on days my Mom had made Cream of Wheat for breakfast. In fact, I’m pretty sure my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Disner, thought I had some kind of sporadic nervous condition, or was at the very least the most paranoid 5-year-old she’d ever met. At some point I asked my mother why MY Cream of Wheat wasn’t following ME to school, and she assured me that it was…it was just invisible.
I had a somewhat similar experience today involving not an invisible bowl of gruel but a very real (and very persistent) rain cloud. I had ridden my trusty Trek Antelope (hereafter known as “Ole Blue”) to the central station this morning, and was on my way home when I cycled under a rain cloud that had parked itself over the soccer fields behind Ribersborg beach.
Now because there had been no rain in the forecast, I did not have my usual rain gear with me. (A stupid move on my part knowing how fickle the weather is here along the Swedish Riviera.) But the rain came up rather suddenly and since I could see blue skies and sunshine in three of four directions, I figured it wouldn’t last very long. In fact, the direction I was heading (south) looked prettiest of all, and since a very steady wind was blowing toward the north…I was just sure I would be riding out of the wet stuff just as quickly as I’d ridden into it.
WRONG. The rainfall became heavy enough that I had to take shelter beneath an underpass. Again, I could see sunshine and white, puffy clouds in every direction but the one I’d come from, and there was a really good wind blowing, so I didn’t expect to be there for more than a few minutes. So I waited, and I waited, and then I called Dr. Darling who was making dinner. She reported that it had rained very briefly a little earlier in the afternoon, but there were now blue skies over our apartment…which was probably less than 2 kilometers away from where I was stranded.
So I waited some more. Despite the steady wind, this cloud was clearly NOT going anywhere. Eventually the other people who had dodged under the underpass with me resigned themselves to getting wet and left. The sky was now starting to brighten even though it was still pouring, so I stuck it our a little longer. I waited until a few rays of sun had actually broken through the still-raining cloud before I finally gave up and got back on my bike…thinking that if I was going to get wet at least I’d get to see a hell of a rainbow. But NOOOooooooo! There was no rainbow! At this point I was just sure the cloud was mocking me on purpose, just like the invisible bowl of Cream of Wheat had done during my childhood.
So I rode through this weird sunny shower for another kilometer or so before I managed to get out from under the rain cloud. And sure enough, the streets in our neighborhood were nearly dry from the sunshine when I got there even though I was still quite damp from the drenching I’d gotten just down the road.
But at least dinner was ready. And thankfully it wasn’t Cream of Wheat!