Actually, that’s not strictly true: i don’t the rain at all usually. Often i quite enjoy it and really don’t mind being caught in the odd shower, or even the occasional downpour – after all, it’s only a drop of water.
The only time really that rain does bug me is when it manages to contrive to get me thoroughly soaked when i’m en-route somewhere when there’s no chances of me drying-off on arrival. There’s something particularly nasty, for example, about getting thoroughly drenched before jumping on to a packed, muggy, train to arrive sodden and steaming slightly at a long business meeting, (usually with a bunch of other people who’ve managed to avoid the rain, remaining crisp, dry and smug, whilst you suffer from damp patches in places you’d really rather not think about).
The truth is, i don’t do myself any favours – i don’t own an umbrella and would rather avoid using one if i can. i’ve had plenty, over the years, but somehow i’ve always managed to leave them on trains or had them utterly destroyed by freak gusts of wind that lurk around corners, waiting for me to appear on any otherwise windless – but rainy – day. Besides which, i hava deep-seated loathing – not of brollies themselves, but of the sort of people who tend to wield them. If ever i was to become ruler of the universe, umbrella usage would become a criminal offence, unless the carrier was suitably licensed and rigorously trained in umbrella-craft. There are any number of unsavoury and objectionable activities that otherwise normal people indulge in when armed with a brolly:
- The rolling wall: A strategy adopted by a group of umbrellaphiles in which they contrive to create an impassable barrier as they meander unpredictably, four abreast, down the street in front of you, as you vainly attempt to pass;
- The eyeball gouge: Pretty much self-explanatory, but far more likely to ‘have someone’s eye out’, than any amount of randomly thrown stones;
- The flap and scatter: The means by which an umbrella wielder will walk into a room, directly in your path, wildly shaking their weapon and soaking everything in sight, much the same as a very shaggy dog that’s just climbed out of the bath;
- The ‘they don’t like it up ’em‘: The complete opposite to the flap and scatter, whereby the offender will launch themselves outwards, usually through a shop doorway, oblivious to anything in their path, whilst simultaneously erecting the offending article in a manner guaranteed to put anyone on the receiving end in hospital;
- The loaded weapon: A favourite of Russian spies – a rifle, cunningly disguised as an umbrella. Not particularly common, but lethal;
- The unforgivable transgression: My personal bugbear – this occurs when an umbrella-wielding asshat, or group – (what’s the collective noun for ‘asshats’, please?) – take cover under balconies, awnings and all other available shelter with umbrellas erected, thereby forcing those unfortunates without protection into the rain, whilst they remain snug and dry undercover!
You’ve probably surmised by now that today’s post was spawned from being caught out by the weather this morning… and you’d be correct. The first real spot of rain we’ve had round these parts in daylight hours, for quite some time, managed to coincide beautifully with me needing to make an extended journey, much of which was outdoors and very, very wet and windy.
It didn’t help that much of the country had contrived to coincidentally come to a halt – rainy day accidents had reduced traffic to a crawl, or a complete standstill, and the rail network was similarly trashed due to cancellations and signal failures, (probably the wrong type of rain). Then, to cap it all, the delivery lorry hadn’t got through the traffic with the coffee-shop’s cream… so no warm-up mocha for me! 😦
Whilst rain is a fact of real life, even with best will in the world, and no matter how much technology progresses, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever get to experience anything that comes remotely close to simulating it, or for that matter, any sort of weather in sl. We can rest assured that worrying about what to wear, or should we pack waterproofs, is something we won’t have to contend with in the virtual world. At least, that’s what i always imagined, but it seems i could be wrong and VR could possibly become even more immersive – in our own SLifetimes – than we ever might have anticipated.
Take this example that Marriot Hotels recently unveiled: a complete virtual experience, right down to temperature, humidity and the feel of the ground underfoot! It’s a simple matter to throw in a shower head and, bingo! There you have it – authentic rain showers too!
Imagine some future incarnation of sl where you really do have to wrap up in your woollies and wellies to wander a winter sl scene: a virtual world where weather is real! A place where simulated rain is as fresh as the real thing, and just as wet!
Somehow, despite the remarkable possibilities, i’m not sure that it’ll catch on. One of the great pleasures of sl is that we have the freedom to wander round in whatever state of dress – or undress – we fancy, whatever the prevailing ‘weather’. It’s liberating and a lot less inconvenient than in rl, not to mention that it’s warmer, dryer and far less likely to result in frizzy hair.
This is one technological innovation that, on this occasion, i’d rather sl didn’t adopt. It’s one thing needing an umbrella for the real world, quite another to need one in the virtual world… think of the difficulties licencing people to use them!
Walking ’round the room singing Stormy Weather
At Fifty Seven Mount Pleasant Street
Crowded House – Weather With You