It’s a rainy day here in ol’ Richmond. A perfect day to gather the ones you love around a warm fire, crack open a book and lose yourself in a world built in your mind…
Pssh, yeah, who builds fires these days anyway? Remote control fireplaces are in, baby.
Anyway, back to the rain. Whenever it rains, it always reminds me of a time in my life. Specifically, my third year of college. In this year I was a shy person. Dare I say it, downright antisocial. Of course I had friends and usually had a decent time when I was around them. Meeting new people, however, was not my strong point. I was cordial, but was always looking for the quickest way out of a conversation with someone new.
This resistance to be social reared its ugly head several times, especially in my encounters with the fairer sex.
How does the rain remind me of my inability to engage in dialogues with women, you ask? Well take a seat ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, so I can regale you with fascinating, and ultimately hilarious, parable.
It was a rainy night, and I was closing up the student center on campus, as is the responsibility of the student who mans the counter in the main lobby. I exited the side door to find the pace of the rain had increased, now hitting against the pavement in a faster tempo. Were I a dancer, I would have done a little jig to the rhythm.
Resigned to the fate of walking the quarter-mile back to my place of residence, I began the trek along the wet pavement. A car pulled up next to me before I had made too much headway into my journey. The passenger-side window descended, and I was face to face with a girl.
Not just any girl, though. This was a girl whom I had (as the kids say these days) “crushing” on for the past couple of months. I barely knew her, only managing a weak “hello” every now and again whenever our paths crossed. She was always kind, though, and would return the greeting with a smile. Throughout these greetings, though, my confidence had been building, the self-esteem rising. Finally here she was, right in front of me. Our dialogue was right out of a Tarantino movie. Well, not really.
She smiled and noticing that rain was pelting me, asked “Do you need a ride?”
Now kids, understand that it was a perfectly reasonable question. It was raining, and her car was decidedly un-creepy. If I was any other guy, I would have jumped at the chance to get out of the rain and be dry for that remaining 1,000 feet.
I, however, am me.
“No, thanks…I like the rain.”
What in the world did I just say?
She paused, and with a shrug, said “Okay.” and rolled the passenger window back up, driving away.
I resumed my trek home, confused with myself. Why did I do that? It was a car ride! She was being nice! And now, I was stuck walking along a semi-dirt road, getting nicely soaked.
After that encounter, I barely saw this mystery girl again. By that, I mean I did my best to avoid her. I don’t think I could bear to walk by her, with her thinking, “Oh, there’s that guy who apparently has a fetish for water falling from the sky.”
A couple of years later, I realized that, while potentially emotionally damaging at that time, this event taught me something. It taught me that I needed to be more open. Granted, it didn’t mean I walked rain-slicked roads, waiting for someone to offer me a ride. But it did mean that I let myself be open to more opportunities in my life. And this openness has resulted in me having experiences (both good and bad) that I can pass along to the future generations of people, who will undoubtedly look to me as a kind of awkward messiah.
In closing: Mystery girl, if by some reason you find yourself reading this, thank you. Thank you for offering me the ride, and thank you for the lesson you taught me, albeit vicariously.
And no, I do not have a fetish for water falling on me from the sky.