GOT AN E-MAIL from California with a joke about the devil. Seems he was sorting through miscreants, pitching some on the fires of Hell and putting others aside.
"Are they being spared?" one of the not-yet-categorized asked hopefully. "Nah," comes the reply. "But they're from Maryland, so they're still too wet to burn."
Ha, ha. How pathetic. People in California - with their El Ninos and earthquakes and wacko Hollywood-flavored politics - are making fun of us! What have we Marylanders done to deserve this? The 28.2-inch snowstorm, the seven weeks of spring with only two days' reprieve from depressing gray skies and endless rain? The blood-thirsty mosquitoes that are now swiftly to follow?
Was it all that whining last summer about the drought? You can't take that kind of talk seriously. We always whine here about the weather. It's too muggy, too windy, too clammy, too wet or too dry. We're always surprised when the predictable happens: smothering heat in summer, icy cold in winter.
And we have no memory whatsoever of seasons past. Rainy springs like this come every decade or so. But extreme weather of any sort always seems to be hitting us for the first time - or so you'd think from the kvetching.
Truth is, there's always a partly sunny or a partly cloudy way to look at the weather. The difference is all in the attitude.
The sun came back this week - for a few days at least. Moods brightened. Shorts and sandals appeared. Outdoor activities resumed. But almost immediately the mercury hit 90 and the air pollution alerts sounded. Code Red by Wednesday. (Or was that the terrorism alert? So hard to tell these days.)
The rain, which is forecast to continue through much of the summer, has restored the water table and given us lush greenery, and will likely keep the sea nettles out of the bay weeks later than usual. It's just that too much of it makes us crazed with light deprivation.
You might assume that what we really want is perfect weather, moderate temperatures, endlessly sunny days and just the occasional afternoon rain to water the flora and fauna.
But no, that would be California. We'll stick with what we've got, thank you. And if we carp too much about the weather sometimes, pay no attention. We'll forget it by the next season, anyway.