Avoid the temptation to attempt a picnic in the park. Don’t plan on a coherent conversation. Avoid short skirts and dresses. Wear a hat and pull it down, snug around your forehead. Throw on a windbreaker. Don’t have one? Thrift one. Avoid commuting via bicycle. Avoid depending on an umbrella. Avoid carrying one altogether. If it’s raining, just be wet. Wear glasses, spectacles, goggles, or whatever. Apply ChapStick and remain hydrated. Before you leave the house, ensure that the lid to your trash bin is secured.
An attempt at a picturesque picnic in the park becomes a 51″ x 59″ checkered blanket draped around your legs, flapping in the wind like a witch’s cape. That $17 discounted umbrella, transformed and tossed into the current, now a bush of nylon tumbleweed. Sandwich bread and condiments pulled apart and scattered. A lawn painted with ciabatta and cheese. Salami shot out of a cannon. Now the proud property of every anthill within a fifty-foot radius.
An attempt to express your fervor is muted by the roar of the wind. You can yell all you want. A red face. It’s either angry, embarrassed, or windburned. Soundless words fall from dancing lips and wasted windpipes. Life is now a game of charades. The moment you realize you screwed up.
A couple of wardrobe malfunctions. That silk drawstring dress you couldn’t help but purchase for this special occasion, the one that’s mildly conservative, now gripping every curve and crevice of your body like a latex glove. The loose-fitting beanie that was hiding the absence of hair on the crown of your head, now flying far away, emancipated from your snowflake dandruff. Forty percent of the body’s heat is lost through the head. Wind chill and exposed scalps go together like orange juice and toothpaste. A thrifted windbreaker would have been nice.
The Beaufort scale classifies 30 mph wind as a “strong breeze.” But for every cyclist, it’s a worst nightmare. Especially when there is rain. The windbreaker you wish you thrifted is now a hypothetical rain jacket. But that won’t save you from the onslaught of pelting rain, falling from the sky like lead pellets, biting every inch of exposed skin they can find.
A sedentary piece of debris has been notified that you’ve forgotten your cool shades. It has gotten off its ass and flown a half-mile to crash land on your cornea. Almost enough of a distraction to knock you off your bike. A near victim to road rash, wet corduroys, and embarrassment.
By the time you make it home, your lips are void of any moisture. A mud-cracked landscape. Two pink prunes wasted by the stinging blade of the wind. Your quads are surging with noxious acid, ready to dive off the bone in the attempt to escape the pain. You remember the scene where Tin Man mutters to Dorothy his need for the oil can.
But you’re not ready to escape inside and call it a day. Not after witnessing the mob of crushed beer cans, paper towels, and empty lunchmeat packaging that’s parading across your front lawn and into the street. You’ve just realized that you forgot to secure the lid to the trash bin that’s usually sitting at the side of the house. Mother Nature is a matriarch. When she lets loose her voice, we are all subjects under her reign.
Drew Campbell is a Marine Corps veteran and a junior in the Secondary English Education Program. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, and all things adventure. He and his girlfriend are currently in pursuit of visiting all fifty states. Drew Campbell is also an advocate of wearing socks with sandals and holds a firm belief that comfort always trumps style.