Hoods > Umbrellas

Among other more descriptive terms, my D.C. experience could possibly be summed up in the following word: WET. After all, within two days of my arrival, Hurricane Irene hit the city. Then, after a few brief days of humidity-free sunshine, we started feeling the effects of other tropical storms. The last few days began as an homage to Seattle-style weather – that is, overcast and drizzly – but they have since turned into thunder and lightning storms on a daily basis.

I have already been blamed for bringing the bad weather with me. I tell people that I did leave Washington state right as summer weather finally arrived, but I do have to admit it: For better or worse, I feel right at home in this weather.

One thing that separates Washington-ites from Seattlites, however, is the apparent love for umbrellas here. On a rainy day in Seattle, I could walk around the city and see only a few umbrellas; I would probably even think to myself, “They must be from out of town.” And then I would huddle up under the hood of my rain jacket and walk on with a small sense of superiority. Not so, in this city.

While walking to Union Station this morning, I saw countless umbrellas — and approximately one person with a hooded rain jacket: me. Because it is still so warm outside in spite of the rain, most people don’t even wear jackets over their dress clothes, something that continues to astonish me…just as they are astonished to see me walking along without an umbrella. This is concerning: They walk around in dress clothes and flip-flops on their trips to work, yet I am the hooded alien.

That was definitely not the case this weekend, however, while I was out-n-about downtown filming an assigned scavenger hunt video. The assignment, which usually takes place over the first weekend but was postponed due to the hurricane, was to create a video of four group members traveling to different locations through D.C. When my group set out on this adventure, we believed the sky would clear up and the day would turn out as we had come to expect — beautiful and sunny. Less than an hour in, though, the sky opened up in a rain shower like I have rarely seen…and I had no hood…or umbrella. As a result, I could be seen hurrying through the streets of D.C. as one very out of place tourist, the silly one who forgot the weather mantra of both this great city and her own hometown: “If you don’t like the weather here, just wait five minutes.”

I’ll add my D.C. postscript for now: “Still not a fan of the weather? Wait five more minutes. But be sure you have an umbrella if you do.”

And, by the way, here’s the video my group created for our scavenger hunt:

If you’re interested in watching the videos created by the two other groups, you can view them at the WJC blog here.


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