Hate to live up to a national stereotype, but I’m gonna talk about the wather.
If I tell anybody from ‘back home’ that I actually look forward to rain, they usually look at me as if I’ve just burned a winning lottery ticket. I must be, they figure, ungrateful and slightly unhinged. But here in the Middle East, rain isn’t a frustrating and inconvenient burden and a sunny day isn’t an unqualified blessing. With the cloudless sky comes intense, burning heat that makes the city unbearable, the people crabby and dangerous, the streets dusty and the air thick and rancid. For six months of the year, that’s the reality: nasty, brutish; dirty and filthy in a manner that no number of showers can alleviate.
But then, some time around Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur, that never-ending heat suddenly breaks and a first few blessed droplets fall. Then the heavens open up and it’s as if all this city’s grime and indecency, its simmering agression and hostility, even its uncompromising ugliness are destined to be cleansed and washed away. Of course, no silver lining can be without a dark cloud: soon the roads will be flooded, roofs will leak, traffic chaos will reign and sewers will overflow to allow raw excrement to flow in the street…
The first rain fell last night and all those bad things haven’t happened. Yet. So I can celebrate and be thankful:
Winter is finally coming. Thank fuck for that.