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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Getting Caught in the Rain

This past weekend, I found myself in the midst of an unfortunate "Ding!" which involved getting caught in a monsoon in Philadelphia (if you don't know what a "Ding!" is, go here: I got drenched, but I also learned a few things I'd like to share...

(PS This video has nothing to do with the article. It is a song by Revis that happend to be titled "Caught in the Rain." I like the song, and can't tell this story without thinking of that song.)

It's Saturday night, and I am going downtown to meet some friends for dinner and a comedy show. I live about 1.5 miles from Center City Philadelphia (the main "downtown" area"), and when it's nice out I like to walk down. Though it was the middle of November, it wasn't too cold, so I decided to walk. This turned out to be a baaaaad decision.

Let's look at the series of events:

- Right before I leave, a TV news warning pops up with a "severe thunderstorm" warning for a bunch of counties. Philadelphia County was not one of them. Every county that surrounds Philadelphia *was* on the list, but for some reason it didn't register in my head that if every county around Philly has rain, it might rain in Philly too.

Lesson #1: Sometimes you need to think for yourself and extrapolate a little bit. It's like people who follow their GPS instructions until they run into a wall. Stupid.

- So I leave my apartment and start walking downtown, no umbrella in hand.

Lesson #2: Planning is important (Hmm, that's the first half of one of my speech titles. Maybe I should pay better attention to myself)

- The thing about the walk downtown is that the shortest route is straight down the Ben Franklin Parkway, which is a large road with no buildings or bushy trees on it (i.e. no cover). About 5 or so minutes into the walk the first few drops start. "Hmm," I think to myself, "that's unfortunate. Maybe I should turn around and grab an umbrella or drive down. Nah, it probably won't get that bad." Really. I opted to *not* turn around.

Lesson #3: There is a thin line between optimism and stupidity. Cross it at your own risk.

- Within ten minutes of this momentous decision, the rain transforms into a torrential downpour. I am quickly soaked. I don't mean I got a little wet, or I was "damp." My jeans were so wet it was as if I had jumped into a pool of water. For a while it was just my jacket (which was pretty rain-proof - score one for me) and the bottom half of my jeans getting drenched. Then the weather Gods decided it was time to play with little old Avish, because the wind picked up and it started raining sideways! It was as if the rain took a look at my jeans and said, "ooh, we missed a spot, let's get him." The sideways rain soaked the top half of my jeans. How wet was I at this point? Let's just say that my boxers were now also soaked (wet underwear - eew!)

Lesson #4: Sometimes when it Dings! it pours (sorry, had to make the pun)

- I get to my friend's place downtown and proceed to spend 15 minutes in her bathroom with her hairdryer desperately trying to de-wet-ify my jeans and underwear (I gave up on the socks). It didn't work so well. At dinner, I found myself more than a bit uncomfortable, which was making it hard for me to really enjoy myself. I did my best, but it was a struggle to stay "up."

Lesson #5: Being uncomfortable can detract your ability to enjoy yourself or be effective. Stack the deck in your favor: what things are you allowing in your life right now that make you uncomfortable and take away your fun and focus?

- Sidenote: Being soaked makes you need to pee more frequently. I went to the bathroom quite often that night.
Lesson #6: Being soaked makes you need to pee more frequently. I went to the bathroom quite often that night.

- After dinner, we have some time before the comedy show, so we return to my friend's apartment where I go back into the bathroom with my new best friend, the hair-dryer. Since drying the jeans wasn't working - denim doesn't dry easy! - I decided to maximize my ROI and dry the piece of clothing that would have the greatest impact on my comfort: my boxers. This was for two reasons: 1) Cotton dries much better! and 2) the much smaller surface area meant I could dry the boxers completely.

Lesson #7: When Ding! Happens, your immediate actions should focus on the activities that will have the maximum impact in the time you have allotted. A lot of people waste time trying to tackle the entire program rather than addressing one piece they can handle that will help.

- The rest of the night went well. I eventually dried out, had a good time at the comedy show, and hung out for a few drinks afterwards. But I was *very* happy to get home and out of those clothes!

The overall lesson: Ding! Happens. It's up to you whether you make the best of it or get miserable. The choice is yours.

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