One of the most endearing qualities I find in people is their tendency to take responsibility for the weather. This is one of those subtle things that it takes awhile to notice, but if you travel frequently enough, you’ll encounter it.
Trav and I have a knack for landing in a place just when the weather is making some dramatic turn outside the local norm. A few years ago we went to Florida in mid-February, only to find pounding rain and temperatures in the low 40’s, for days on end. It was about six degrees warmer than it was in Indianapolis when we left.
And everywhere we went, people apologized to us for the weather. Servers in restaurants, a kayak outfitter, docents at state parks, and my cousin all protested that the weather was never like this, and they were sorry. It was somewhat like a parent sheepishly apologizing for their kid’s outrageous behavior: “He’s never like this, I swear.”
“Thirty years I’ve lived here,” my cousin said, shaking her head, “and I’ve never seen it quite this cold and rainy for so long. I’m so sorry the weather is doing this on your trip.”
I love it. It’s one of my favorite things about people, because it shows a pride for their home environment that they want to share with others. They want you to enjoy your time in the place where they live. They care about your trip.
This is my fourth morning in Santa Fe, New Mexico, undeniably a desert environment. And it’s been raining, hard, for three days straight. Rivers of water run jauntily down the streets, and flash flood warnings are popping up everywhere. My in-laws have been expressing regret for the rain all week. This really is a once-in-a-decade event here in Santa Fe, as my sister-in-law noted during dinner one night. And of course we’re here for it.
On Tuesday I stood in a shop in downtown Santa Fe where everyone watched, mouths agape, as hail began pelting the cars outside.
“That never happens,” the show owner said in shock. “I swear.”
And I smiled.