In Praise of Rainy Weather (Or the Bubbling Goo of Scotland)

A gorgeous summer day in Scotland. Photo by Aaron Schuman.

A gorgeous summer day in Scotland. Photo by Aaron Schuman.

I’m of Scottish Maritime stock.

My people come from cool, cloudy, wet climes, where the men grow hairy knees because the kilts just aren’t long enough to offer protection from the cold.

Truth be told, that’s not the only place where the hair grows wild — but that’s for a different (what do Scotsmen wear under their kilts?) discussion.

When the mercury would rise anywhere above room temperature, my ancestors would turn blotchy pink, sweat profusely, and melt into bubbling puddles of goo.  Their DNA simply did not carry the genetic instruction on how to deal with heat and humidity.

I won’t bother to mention the effect of sun on Celtic alabaster skin other than to say that spontaneous combustion is not nearly as random as you might think.

All this, of course, is hardly a thing of the past.

That DNA is my DNA.

That goo is my goo.

And just as my ancestors could not deal with long-term sultriness, so too is the situation for modern Celts.

It’s why you so rarely see them at the beach (well, that and the fact that they rarely swim so much as they sink — which is, once again, another story).

But the Scottish of the old country — and even the ones “Down Home” in the Canadian Maritimes — do not have to face Ontario summers.  They remain relatively safe from the genetic perils of dealing with 32-degree temperatures (83 with the humidex).  Their chance of a meltdown is relatively low.

Alas, the same cannot be said for me.

For yes, the Scottish diaspora has delivered me to this place — this hell — that punishes with its inhospitable waves of smothering, muggy swelter.

I live in a place that, for months on end, is the physical manifestation of the bath houses of Hades.

And what happens?  I turn a blotchy pink.  I sweat profusely.  I make a mess of the floors of friends and colleagues by melting into a bubbling puddle of goo.

Two humid nights ago, I bumped into a very pregnant friend at the convenience store (or rather, with the size of her belly, she bumped into me).  The two of us commiserated over the effects of our conditions.  We were both perspiring.  Both swooning.

“Poor thing,” I cooed.  “So tough to be pregnant in this weather.”

“And you too,” she replied with sympathy.  “With that Scottish Maritime blood.”

The thermometer read 17 degrees.

It was stifling.

Oh, sure.  It’s not as bad as it is going to get in August, but muggy nonetheless.

Which is why I love days like today.  The cool breeze blows through the window and, were I wearing a kilt… well… it would blow up there too.  The precipitation alternates between a drizzle and a downpour.  Thunder rumbles and threatens to storm.  It calls to me in a deep baritone and sings me songs of my ancestral home.

So bring on the rain, I say.  Let it pour.  Let the heavens open up and wash away the stench and sweat of humidity.  Let the goosebumps rise on our arms and our voices rise in chorus.  For this, this is a time of celebration.

For displaced Scots like me, it is a time to rejoice.  Our highland blood quickens with the fresh and the cold.

Should you need me, I’ll be dancing in the backyard.

In the rain.

Probably naked.