Making it Rain
“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” -Dolly Parton
For better or worse, I categorize my friends. For me there are: friends to ride bikes with, friends to climb with, friends to grab drinks with, etc. Furthermore, I even sub-categorize many of these friends; for example, of the friends I climb with, some of those people I only climb inside with, while others I will only climb outside with. Of course many of these friends manage to cross categories, but for some they are forever associated with one thing. For me, doing stuff with Ashley is always linked to doing something in the rain. Inviting Ashley is inviting rain.
When it comes to doing stuff outside, Ashley was born under a dark cloud (pun intended). Of course when Ashley and I first began dating, I had no idea of her proclivity for dreary weather. On more than one occasion, we would be cresting a ridge or standing on a mountain’s summit as the inevitable wet weather would roll in. Assuredly I would pull my raincoat from my bag, slip it over my head, look across and see Ashley just watching me. She hadn’t thought to bring her raincoat (a quick aside; in hindsight, how a person who seemingly attracts foul weather every time she sets foot in the wilderness never carries a rain coat is beyond me). After receiving a sad puppy look, and with a chivalrous spirit, I would hand my raincoat over to her. Looking back, it is no wonder she never brought a raincoat–she really always had one, she had mine.
Admitting defeat, I realized that Ashley would never learn her lesson about making sure she had a rain jacket on hand when we went out. Just as I began to accept my fate as being forever wet and cold, I had an epiphany. Although I would never be able to instill the need of carrying proper rain gear in Ashley, perhaps I could train myself to make sure she was properly packed before we leave. It worked! Making sure she has her rain gear packed and ready to go has become part of my pre-activity routine. For the last few years, when the unavoidable Ashley-induced bad weather rolls in, Ashley now pulls her own rain gear out from her pack, and I am able to keep mine.
A final note because I am sure Ashley will claim I am exaggerating her effect on the weather, and her habit of forgetting her rain wear. A few weeks ago, Ashley, Doug, and I were packing in the parking lot to climb Mount Washington’s Henderson Ridge. The sky was a perfect shade of blue, and without any trace of a cloud in it. As we were preparing to depart toward the climb, Doug turned to Ashley and asked, “do you have your raincoat?”