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Lucky I didn’t get caught in that rain!

March 21, 2016


Just before 10 p.m. on Sunday (March 20) the rain, which had only begun falling with any effect after 9 p.m., suddenly, all at once, came down like Niagara Falls. The deluge was announced and attended by that enormous rustling sound that a truly torrential downpour makes.

Not once, not twice, but three times the rain swelled to that exhilarating pitch that makes people cry out in wonder.

I heard the pitch rise and turned to watch the rain from the comfort of the parkade I sleep in.

The rain was falling so thick that it reduced visibility across the street but I could make out a trio with umbrellas huddled in the entrance of a hair salon. And I could hear them. They were shrieking with glee!

Standing as I was on the apron of the parkade, I was mere inches away from being soaking wet and shivering cold. But, because I was perfectly dry, it was T-shirt warm.

I was lucky not to have not been caught out in the torrent—an hour’s-worth of rain in 60 seconds—my rain gear wouldn’t have stood a chance!

As it was, I had wound my way through the Fairview back alleys between 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. collecting returnable beverage containers. There was a slight spit of drizzle the whole time but I only needed my rain jacket for half an hour.

It was a pleasant three hours of binning, not the least because I nearly had everything to my self. There was only one other binner on a bike but he seemed to be in some kind of hurry.

It would help explain why the alleys were so empty of competing binners if there had been some advance warning of the impending storm in the media.

I, however, was unaware anything special was coming and when I finished binning a grid of alleys on the east side of South Granville Street, I weighed whether to do some of the grid west of South Granville, as far as Burrard Street.

Had I done so I would’ve still been in the middle of binning when the heaviest rain hit. I might’ve gotten very wet, or I may have been lucky enough to be able to duck into a carport or an open garage.

Years ago, between 2005 and 2006, I wasn’t quite so fotunate as I am now. I had trouble finding good sleeping spots and I didn’t have any good rain gear. I ended up out in the middle of such rain, more times than I can count, soaking-icy-wet from head to toe, with nowhere to hide, thinking that I couldn’t get any wetter (but somehow I always did).

Sunday evening I was lucky in the sense that I chose to cut short my binning and head to my parkade of choice before the rain really got started. And I was all ready to go to bed when the heaviest of it hit.

But my real luck was that I had the choice—the luxury to marvel and be entertained by the ferocity of the rain from the safety of a dry parkade that I almost call my own.

I don’t take things like being allowed to sleep in that parkade for granted. I greatly appreciate what little I have (comparatively speaking)—I really do. I know the big differences that little things can make in my life and I’m ever mindful that a person’s luck can change (not the least a homeless person’s) for better or for worse, as quickly as Vancouver weather. Click the image to enlarge it.

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