Friday, July 15, 2005

Ode to Jamie

Yesterday was not my day. I had been complaining that it needed to rain for most of the week. It has been hot and humid, and the rain would break the heat, I thought. There had been occasional thunder, but no actual rain. You know how it feels when you need to sneeze but just can’t? The air had that same sort of tense, waiting need for rain.

Yesterday, it rained.

I was waiting for a bus after work when the first few drops hit. A bus came, and I didn’t even need to get out my umbrella. But by the time we got to the metro station, it was pouring. I opened my umbrella, and tried to move quickly to the metro. By the time I made it into the station, my clothes were pretty wet, in spite of the umbrella.

It was my friend Sara’s birthday, and I was meeting her, her boyfriend Jamie, and some others for a celebratory dinner and a restaurant near my house. On the metro ride home, I decided that I would call Sara and Jamie to ask if they could pick me up on their way to the restaurant. Brian was using the car that night, and normally I would walk, but I didn’t want to go in the rain.

When I came out of the metro, though, the rain had stopped. The air had cooled a bit, and it felt less humid. The ground wasn’t even very wet. I went home and threw my pants in the dryer (yay for having my own dryer!) and found a clean shirt. A little while later, dressed in dry clothes, I headed down to the restaurant, carrying my umbrella, just in case.

I walked quickly down the hill, waving to Marvin the bus driver as his bus lumbered in the opposite direction. When I hit the bottom of the hill, I had to cross over the freeway, on a pedestrian overpass. Just as I started up the ramp, another downpour began. I unfurled my umbrella and quickened my pace. As I started over the freeway, the wind picked up, and a tried to use my umbrella to block the rain coming from my left to no avail. I thought about how embarrassing it was going to be to arrive at the restaurant as wet as I had been when I reached the metro earlier, but as I neared the half-way point of the overpass, I realized I was already much wetter, in spite of being in the rain for under a minute. How did I know I was that much wetter? There was one key reason:

My pants were trying to fall off.

I was completely soaked, and my pants were so heavy with all the water that I was having trouble keeping them up. I folded my useless umbrella, held my pants up with one hand, and ran, wishing I’d worn a belt and wondering what I would do when I reached the restaurant.

I stood underneath the awning when I arrived and looked through the glass front. I could see my reflection in the window. I saw my friends having a drink while they waited for a table. I saw them noticed me and start to smile. I stood there until I saw my friend Jamie heading toward me. I motioned him outside.

“I’ll drive you home to change,” he told me, before I could say much of anything. I refrained from hugging him. No one likes to be hugged by a drowned rat. I gave him my umbrella as we hurried to his car, as any attempt to stay out of the rain seemed a little irrelevant at that point.

At one point in time, Jamie had worried that Brian would be upset with him. That was after Jamie had delivered me home in an inebriated state about three times. We had a pattern: whenever Brian couldn’t go out with the group, or wasn’t in the mood to go out, I would go, drink more than I ought to, and Jamie and Sara would make sure I got home safely. Brian was, of course, never upset with Jamie (and usually not with me, either), but simply glad I had made it home safely. Somehow, in my mind, Jamie driving me home for dry clothes was closely connected to his willingness to be my designated driver. Still, I wished I were drunk rather than soaked.

Jamie waited in the car, listening to the Red Sox game, while I ran into the house to change. I was soaked to the skin, so I shed my clothes in the bathroom and ran to my room. I dressed, and ran down the stairs. I hurried back up to loop a long scarf through my belt loops and knot it, just in case. Within 15 minutes of my first arrival at the restaurant, Jamie and I returned. It was barely raining anymore.

Sara and Jamie dropped me off at home after dinner. I went inside and sat on the couch with the cat in my lap, listening to the messages on the answering machine. The first message made me smile.

“Hey, Elizabeth, it’s Jamie. It’s pouring right now, so if you want a ride to the restaurant, just give me a call on my cell phone and all come pick you up.”

Jamie rocks.

And I am going to try not to wish for rain for the rest of the summer.

1 comment:

matty said...

when i read the title, i thought you were sharing stories of the lady from our dorm freshman year.
she deserves an ode.