You know those sayings: “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” Or “When it rains, it pours.” Or “Where there’s lightning, there’s often a thunderstorm.”
Oh, you haven’t heard that last one?
Around 9:30 tonight, Rudi, Julia, and I were sitting out on the Mall, having a perfectly lovely evening. A brief spattering of rain had gone through downtown just around 5, which dropped the temperature down but didn’t seem to raise the humidity or soak the ground, making it perfect for the inaugural showing of this year’s Screen on the Green.
Yes, there was the odd flickering of lightning, but mostly it seemed to be of the cloud-to-cloud variety, so it didn’t bother us at all as we enjoyed our picnic and cartoon short (Marvin the Martian!). We moved on to the main feature, Goldfinger, and had just finished our cupcakey dessert and followed James Bond to America when the drops started to patter down. Julia and about a third of the crowd had already packed up when the emcee came over the loudspeaker to announce that due to a fast-moving thunderstorm, they were very sorry, but they were going to have to cut the film short — oh, and could we please leave RIGHT NOW?!
Which we did.
Except maybe they didn’t emphasize that fast bit enough because we hardly had time to get our bikes unlocked before the rain was pouring down and the lightning was crashing around us. We and about a hundred of our neighbors dashed (dashed is a relative term when carrying a chair and lugging a 45-pound bike) up the steps of the west wing of the National Gallery of Art and hung out on their front porch while the worst of the storm passed through downtown D.C.
We waited for the rain to go into a lull and for the thunder to tell us the storm had moved out of immediate proximity before hopping on our very damp bikes and pedaling home.
Just after we left the Mall to head north, the rain (sans electricity this time) started up again. Rudi and I just pedaled through it, trying to avoid the biggest puddles and to give ourselves plenty of time to brake. And, luckily, drivers gave us a wide berth, probably because they felt sorry for us in our bedraggled state.
Okay, so it might not have made for the best movie-watching, but it’s definitely an evening we won’t soon forget. And that’s kind of cool.
But if I see smoke anytime soon, I’m pulling out the marshmallows…