Ode to Rainy Days

 

Summer in Plano is depressing, especially for an introvert. I remember watching Ben Affleck’s The Town and Rebecca Hall’s character talking about how sunny days remind her or her brother’s death, and it confused the hell out of 13-year-old me. To have someone’s grief juxtaposed with what’s generally considered to be a symbol of happiness ravaged my prepubescent mind. Then again, I was a teenager who knew nothing about the complexities of human emotion watching a “big boy” movie.

Fast forward nearly an entire decade and like a pretentious movie critic, I get it. While I’ve been lucky to not experience the grief Rebecca Hall went through, I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all had bad days. The term “waking up on the wrong side of the bed” hits so much when you’re “grown up”. Sleep at a weird angle and you wake up with a backache that will take over your week.

You might have a day job and decide to browse Reddit and YouTube for a little bit before bed, not realizing it’s 2:00 AM and that r/PublicFreakout is a literal black hole of productivity. Now you’re bummed out about the lack of sleep that you can get at the absolute most, and that worry does nothing to help you fall asleep. Wake up the next morning per your alarm, and the sun is up and shining, taunting you and your nightly habits. “Here Comes the Sun” is less of a feel-good song and more of a tribal chant of how emotionally and productively inept you really are. The sun is less of an indication of a new day but a reminder of yesterday’s mistakes. Everyone else is up and running and your controller isn’t even plugged in.

Alright, enough with the analogies.

There’s something aggravating checking your weather app and seeing the next week’s forecast being nothing but the sun symbol. It gives you a weird kind of cabin fever, but instead of Jack Nicholson losing his mind in the snowy Overlook Hotel, you’re questioning your sanity by just being in the sunny outside world.

It’s a challenge for introverts to go out on command, so rainy days are practically my Christmas. I feel like the universe shames me for not wanting to go out during the day in hopes of not profusely sweating by just turning on the car, and rainy days are like your big brother going “hey, kid, let’s watch some cartoons and make some waffles.” The weight of societal expectations washes away in place of a lovingly gloomy and moody aesthetic that does away with the bore of the sun. It adds variety a summer that knows only one mood, one trick, one damn weather app symbol.

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I wrote this in a coffee shop in broad daylight while listening to the Blade Runner soundtrack. My brain has never been more confused. 

 

My movie diet also doesn’t help how I feel about the sun being out. It’s a challenge to make broad daylight look cinematically interesting, because the art of cinematography is the use of light and shadow to create compelling frame of film. When you’re on set and the sun is beating on you, artistic lighting and variety can almost be thrown out the window. When it’s nighttime, however, and it’s pouring rain, the world is yours.

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The world of 1982’s Blade Runner and it’s even better sequel is a neon drenched fantasy, where the gloomy visuals echo the film’s existential themes. The introduction of Rick Deckard is a tracking shot that passes through several neon lit shops and restaurants, with the sound of rain acting as the white nose counter to Vangelis’ iconic score. Add this and the film’s legendary opening that introduces you to 2019 (per 1982) LA, you’re instantly immersed into a world that is as attractive as it is hopeless. Emotional beats hit harder and are done in a dream like haze, perfectly blurring the lines of movie magic and real, palpable emotion.

Film uses rain as a means of importance, to emphasize that the world you seen within the frame is fantastical, one that almost embraces the existential dread that the sun and clear skies are supposed to shield you from.

As a writer, it’s pretty disgraceful to admit that I have difficulty putting into words how much I long for some overcast. Nearly three months into the summer, there have been less rainy days than there are Blade Runner movies, and that’s just not okay. Waking up to some quiet raindrops, maybe a little thunder, can help you deal with the crap hand that you were dealt the night before. The gathering of clouds that dim the world around you is a visual moodsetter that breaks monotony and breaks convention. And as someone who sweats on the drop of a dime without max AC, downpour is a man’s best friend.

Also, Coldplay’s Parachutes album SLAPS with overcast.

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