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Posts tagged ‘Wet’

Petrichor and Me

As an observer, I’m always cataloging my experiences. Even at a tender age, sights, smells, and sounds became embedded in my memory. Sometimes I tap into those sensual impressions and am transported to a different time and place. Here’s an experience that brought me much joy. I wasn’t quite dancing like the dog in the photo, but maybe some other time I could join him.

 

As the building’s porter hosed off the warm sidewalk last week, a particularly welcome scent tantalized me. “Wet pavement” is one of my earliest scent memories, slightly metallic, with a tinge of the organic. The smell of wet pavement or rain is called petrichor. It’s caused by the aerosols released by water droplets–plant oils, bacteria and their products, organic  matter from soil, and perhaps ozone. The calcium in cement, too, may contribute to the smell. Yum!

The scientist me wants to analyze  the smell and quantitate the sources. The observer me wants to smell and sniff and breathe deep, never stopping. It’s heady, like Chanel No. 5. It’s sensuous, like the first bite of a ripe fig. It’s the smell of the city at her best.

I’m waiting for a promised thunderstorm to bring on the sharp smell of ozone to the air. Aaahh, one more summer scent to anticipate!

Pouring Rain

My skirt got soaked up past my knees. My feet turned to icicles inside my wet shoes. Today gave us the hardest rain–and whipping winds–that I’ve seen for a while. And I had to go out, no ifs, ands, or buts. So I got wet. I leaped from my car to start toward my goal a half block down.

See me tiptoeing, as if that would keep my soggy shoes from getting wetter, avoiding the deepest puddles. Since the street was higher than the sidewalk I walked on it, but it was like dodging landmines. Luckily no cars came by to spray me with a fountain of water. The wind tried to whip my umbrella from my hands and I wielded it like a shield, nearly perpendicular to the ground. Dripping and shaking I made it to my destination.

Wow, did that cup of tea ever feel so good!

Going back out again I reversed my progress. My still damp clothing got drenched again. I cleverly avoided being splashed by five oncoming cars. Clicking the door open, I wrestled my umbrella to close and tossed it on the floor of the passenger side. It brushed the glove compartment, blessing that with a sheet of water. I sat in my car, teeth chattering, blasting the defroster. The interior fogged up while I regained control of my limbs.

Rain Boot

New Rain Boot

I don’t have a raincoat because where I’m from you generally jump into the car, then run into your destination. I didn’t need one much. Now located in NYC, I walk places a lot more and find I need one. I have to go shopping for one. Yuck.

I hate shopping for myself. I didn’t have rain boots, either. But after this episode, I found a pair at the local Target which 1) fit (yay!) and 2) were reasonably priced (double yay!!). Of course I couldn’t use them right from the store, so my feet got wetter as I ran from store to car.

Fortunately, by the time I got home, the rain had subsided to a gentle drizzle.  I found a parking spot (triple yay!!!) only 4 blocks from home on the Friday side of the street (Alternate Side Parking rules apply). I clenched my bags, managed the umbrella on my left shoulder, walked slowly so my heels wouldn’t slip out of my overstretched wet shoes, and clumped home.

Then I crawled into bed to chase the shivers away. What a day!

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