January was unusually dry. In fact, the whole autumn and winter have been unusually dry. Inevitably, the good fortune of those of us who prefer to walk everywhere rather than sit in Dublin traffic had to come to an end.
Stepping out of the door to go to Supervalu, the rain semed like water thrown from a bucket. The squall made holding the umbrella difficult. The Long Mile Road was a lake of surface water, passing cars sent up showers of spray.
The supermarket offered light and heat and dryness. The electronic display at the lottery counter said the Euromillions jackpot would be €130 million, enough to make someone seriously miserable.
Buying two litres of milk and a packet of mints was drawn out for ten minutes. Shelves were idly surveyed in the hope that the rain might have passed.
A passing gust of wind threatens to create a re-enactment of Mary Poppins. The strains of Brooke Benton’s A rainy night in Georgia surface in the consciousness as the walk back begins.
It is a song that has always been there – a soulful accompaniment to moments that have been less than happy, moments when it seems that it is raining all over the world.
Neon signs a-flashin’, taxi cabs and buses passin’ through the night could describe any town on a winter’s night when the only thing for which anyone would wish is to be with loved ones. Who would choose to be out on such a night? Who would go anywhere?
The song tells of one who has nowhere to go. He takes refuge in a boxcar and plays the guitar he carries to pass the time. It is a moment of desolation and realisation,
How many times I wondered
It still comes out the same
No matter how you look at it or think of it
It’s life and you just got to play the game.
“Play the game.” It is a sentiment echoed by Tom Stoppard in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead‘, “Life is a gamble, at terrible odds – if it was a bet you wouldn’t take it.”
The light brown of my boots has become dark in the wetness. The umbrella is more a danger than assistance. The rain continues, indifferent to those walking up the Drimnagh Road
Despite it being after eight o’clock, the flow of traffic heading westward and homeward from the city seems as it was three hours previously.
Such a rainy night.