On Sunday night, I went with my family and some friends to Denver City Park to see an outdoor jazz concert. We brought a picnic dinner and snacks, and were having a lovely time.
Here’s a picture of our spot, looking across the lake towards the Denver Museum of Nature and Science:
In true Colorado form, a storm began to gather on the horizon, and after the month we’ve had — Rain. Every. Single. Day. — we were wary but in the manner of people set up for an evening outside, we willed it away. “Oh, but there’s blue sky all around us.” “It won’t make it here.” “The wind is blowing the other way.”
It didn’t take long for the same view to look like this:
Undeterred, we partied on. Even those first flashes of lightning couldn’t dampen our spirits. There was wine. The band did their sound check and we ate our dinner.
And then the first raindrops fell.
Then there were more. And more.
We got out the jackets and the umbrellas. We stowed the food and got out the blankets. We laughed at how cold the rain was.
Some people dashed for the main house behind us, but we mocked them. Wimps. What was a little rain?
It rained harder, the drops bigger.
My husband and son started singing “We all live in a yellow submarine…” and the group sitting next to us chimed in. It was kind of funny.
The rain got harder and colder. We huddled under our umbrellas.
My husband and daughter were sitting on low chairs right in front of me, so their umbrella was basically in my lap. The water drained down the umbrella and onto my right thigh, running down my leg and into my shoe. There was a wall behind me, so I couldn’t move back, and people on both sides of me, so I couldn’t shift aside. Meanwhile, the water from MY umbrella was rolling down the back of my pants.
I sipped my wine and laughed as thunder rolled overhead.
Tiny pieces of ice fell into my wine cup. Oh great. Hail.
At one point, I looked around and we were pretty much the only group still left on the lawn. My friend Cedric was sitting in a puddle about two inches deep.
I was hysterical with laughter. I literally could not stop laughing. I was shaking with it — that and the cold. I mean, how stupid was this? How ridiculous?
Finally, my husband and daughter and I made a run for it to the big house. Inside, it was crowded but upbeat. Lots of dogs and kids. Some people had set up their picnics on the concrete floor and we thought, “Oh, that’s what we should have done!” One group had internet and was streaming the NBA finals. My sneakers were so full of water, they oozed and bubbled when I moved.
I should probably tell you now that there are two things I really, really hate. One is being wet, and the other is being cold.
After about 45 minutes of this, they cancelled the show. We gathered our courage, went back out into the rain, and dragged our sopping selves back to the cars. The rest of our night was much better, with tea and a fireplace and dry clothes.
The thing is, as a writer, this was great. This happened on Sunday. Monday was my birthday. Water is metaphorical — change, transition, cleansing, all that good stuff. If I were writing a novel about someone’s life and they were facing a birthday, I’d love to drench ’em in a rainstorm. I’d fill the pages with great language about washing away the past and facing the future with renewed purpose and it would be so Jodi-Picoult-and-Nicholas-Sparks meaningful…
But that doesn’t happen in real life. It was just a coincidence. An intriguing one, but a coincidence.
Nevertheless, I hope that when I’m a fantastically famous author — which, coincidentally, is going to begin THIS YEAR — my biographer makes something of out of this.