Visit Washington! Bring the brolly! And the antidepressants.

Imagine, if you can, waking up to this each day:

Minus the kayakers and expanse of water, unless you really do reside on beachfront property, in which case message me your phone number.

And if it's not that, it's this – again, sans seacraft:

Day after day, month after month, these dark skies … this rain. With the lack of light and constant gray, it's no wonder Washington state's consumption of coffee and antidepressants and suicide rate are at the high levels they are.

I've lived in just about every climate there is (short of extremes like Alaska's tundra): from scorching desert to wintery Nordic … from bone dry to humid where perspiration rolls down the body the moment you towel off after a shower … from places with four seasons to those with no season but one. I mean, really, I have been around.

And none but none has been as miserable as the Pacific Northwest's and its unceasing gray and damp coldness. People who've never lived under a constant oppressive cloud cover see the pictures, hear about the lack of sun, the rain, and say, "Yeah, that'd bug me too." Lip service, only lip service! Small numbers have any real notion or depth of understanding of just how oppressive, draining, depleting, depressing and dispiriting these conditions and lack of light are.

Sure, the eight or so months of dreariness are punctuated by a smattering of blue sky, the occasional sunbreak. Now and then the veil lifts to reveal color and light – and warmth, in the summer months. The Pacific Northwest is a canvas of dreary gray with splashes of color, not a colorful canvas with splashes of gray.

As I said, I get around. I listen to people. Ask questions. Observe. In my years of talking with many folks here, there's only one type who has expressed that the gray doesn't totally get them: those who were born and grew up here! And even some of those acknowledge it tests their mettle.

Anyhow, I hope to be putting a period in this chapter of insufferable gray and dampness, otherwise I'll be pushing up daisies (metaphorically, I've no intention of being buried!) before my time.

In the meantime, I woke up to a breathtaking sight this morning afternoon: a break in the rain! And though the sky remain a somber overcast, in the distance a thin strip of blue sky peeks through!

Update: Whoops! It's gone now.

Paaaaaaaaaarty!

I'm lacing on the jogging shoes!

'Cause that's another hardship. If you're climate-dependent for your daily workouts, you best have sports classes or gym membership (unemployed need not apply), in-home machines or exercise-area arrangement, otherwise prepare to become all fat and gooshy … and remain all fat and gooshy for many months.

Anyone else concede that I ought not write promo materials for Western Washington's tourism bureau?

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