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Excuse Me, But Everything’s Wet

A reflection on a rainy day in College Park.

If you haven’t noticed, everything’s wet today. The coffee I placed down for just one second that is now more rainwater than it is Café Latte. My sneakers that will likely develop a moisture-induced odor in the next 24-48 hours that I don’t have the toolset to address without some parental guidance, and will therefore just be responded to with the classic, tried-and-true Ignore It Till It Goes Away approach. The puddles I had to systematically avoid on my way to each class, tacking on at least 5 extra minutes to my daily commute each way. My friend who walked into the library wearing a grey sweatshirt several shades darker than it was when she left her room in the morning. 

Photo by Kanika Mehra

And I guess when everything’s wet, everyone is gloomy. We were only a couple steps out the door before my friends started talking about how they “couldn’t fade this weather.” I heard several strangers greet their friends with some sort of complaint about the walk there. If you could describe a room full of people with one word, I’d label the majority of the ones I’d been in as ‘downcast.’ 

Don’t get me wrong– I get it. If the superstition about opening umbrellas indoors holds any water (haha), I’ve added at least seven years of bad luck onto my ledger, no thanks to automatic doors and a fundamental misunderstanding of velcro. And I mean, measure how well my day is going by how nice my hair looks as much as the next guy; we’re all familiar with one of the most basic conflicts in literature, Man vs Humidity, which I’m pretty sure is what Moby Dick was about. But despite the frizz, wet shoes, and potential catalysts for what will be my third cold this month, experiencing my first rainy day on campus mostly just reminded me why I love it so much. 

Photo by Kanika Mehra

Full disclosure, I’m hesitating to offer my explanation for my never-ending of affection of the rain because I’m thinking of all the times in the history of the world that someone has to describe the rain in some dumb, poetic way; like in all of the mystery novels and letters to loved ones and old blog posts and unopened screenplays sitting in a pile in some production office that an investment banker who secretly always wanted to be a writer wrote in his free time. But at the risk of being cliche or redundant- whichever is worse- I’m going to offer it anyway:

I think for some reason when the rain starts, it’s like the world stops for a little while. Or at least it feels that way. 

Photo by Kanika Mehra

College is… relentless. I’m constantly busy and somehow I feel like I’m not doing enough. Something’s always going on, the campus is always moving. Everyone’s applying to internships and studying for midterms and getting sick and attending club meetings and going out with friends and getting sick again; days feel incredibly long and like they’re passing like seconds all at the same time. I don’t know at what point in the next four years I’m supposed to have figured out my four-year plan by, but I’m convinced the next eight semesters will pass by in a flurry of forgetting to book mandatory advising appointments and writing papers I had two weeks to write in one night without me ever really coming up with one. 

When it’s raining though, everything’s a little less overwhelming. That relentlessness isn’t constantly looming over you. Activities are halted, plans are detoured. Everyone’s huddled inside trying to escape the rain. And yes, in a few hours, the clouds will leave and the gears will get back in motion and the world will continue to operate as planned. But it’s nice to think that just for a little bit, all 40,000 of us came to a standstill. 

Kanika Mehra is a college freshman at the University of Maryland. She's currently majoring in Communications and hopes to be a writer someday. Her interests are primarily in politics, pop culture, and humor.
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