Rain has no favourites. It famously falls upon the just and the unjust, on the exasperated back of the stroller-folding mum and down the necks of smokers. It puts gritty skunk stripes up the backs of cyclists, bedraggles the sad schoolboy and makes suede a hilarious winter fashion joke. It also reveals the alter-egos your fellow humans save for a rainy day. Here are five people you meet in the rain.
The War Tortoise
The umbrella is a wonderful invention, provided you're the one who has one.
If you don't, they're just a blind, spiky shell with unpredictable legs. Your eyes are fodder for its gouging barbs and you're forced into gutter puddles to go around their heaving bulk. Worst of all, the inveterate Umbrella-ist tends to choose a jaunty, colourful design at odds with nature's grey softness, an attempt at expressing unique personality as desperate as a drama teacher's earrings.
The Lost Stockman
In full-length brown oilskin and an Akubra hat, the Stockman almost certainly cannot recite The Man From Snowy River. The colt from Old Regret is a stranger to him. Yet he smells slightly of the stable, if stables contained leather conditioner and expensive brushware and no actual horses. He strides through drizzle with the bow-legged swagger of a cow cocky, all the way from the car to the job lecturing tort law.
The Deadliest Catch
AKA Bananaman. In shiny yellow PVC trousers, overcoat and hat, this person is hard to miss. Or hard to hit, which in traffic is the same thing. Tragic then that this get-up is as stiff and unyielding as a Paul Henry apology, impossible to bike in. Ideal for Bering Sea fishing or a stroll to the dairy. In the classic words of A.A. Milne:
John had great big waterproof boots on
John had a great big waterproof hat
John had a great big waterproof Macintosh
and that, said John, was that.
The Doomsday Prepper
A floating, ethereal land-jellyfish in billowing plastic, the Prepper is a portable South Pacific gyre. Owning many $2 Shop folding rain ponchos, the Prepper keeps one in the car, one at work, one in the handbag and one in the increasingly disturbing emergency kit in the garage. At the drop of a drop they glance smugly at less-prepared pedestrians and drape themselves in human Gladwrap. They know a technique for knotting them together to make an emergency raft, and have already worked out the order in which the Accounts Department would eat each other. At least any leftovers could be safely wrapped. Better living, everyone.
The Free Spirit
There's a gentle smile on her lips as she strides through the rain. Her chin is lifted towards the weather, insensible to the running, hunched figures all around her. Her long skirt swishes and water beads on her felted, wraparound jersey. You stare as you pass, steaming and chafing in your humid car. She doesn't even seem to be getting wet, somehow moving between the drops, the rain making crystals in her hair. Hippie.