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Have you noticed the rain on Tuesdays?

November 30, 2018

Oftentimes, I forget things. I forget my OneCard, my lab notebook or I forget about the banana that I put in my backpack a week ago. But I never forget to put on my raincoat on Tuesdays.

It’s an instinct, a Pavlovian response to slipping my environmental studies notebook into my backpack on Tuesday mornings. Because for the past two months, without fail, I affirm that it has precipitated every Tuesday.

I noticed the peculiar phenomenon six weeks into the semester. Gazing out the window of my Tuesday afternoon seminar at the diagonal downpour, I realized that my view from that window had never been unobstructed by precipitation. Now, the association between Tuesdays and rain is further cemented into my memory by the emotional strain of the decision that I must make every Tuesday at 8:27 a.m.: is being on time to my 8:30 a.m. lecture worth the lingering dampness that my soaked bike seat will inevitably transfer to my pants? If it is a morning when my environmental studies notebook is going to get soiled by that banana in my backpack, it is, because the least I could do for my dignity is be on time.

Regardless, most Tuesday mornings, I mount my bike. Skidding along at 15 miles per hour, I crane my head against the waterproof hood that eliminates my peripheral vision before crossing Maine Street. I must brake well in advance, because the Tuesday rains have altered the physiology of my bike; its parts have rusted from routine exposure to the elements.

Eventually, a sympathetic driver hydroplanes to a stop so I can continue my journey. I make a slight left turn to veer onto Longfellow Avenue. Hood blown back by the wind, I give up on keeping my hair dry. A rush of adrenaline bursts through my veins as the clock strikes 8:29 a.m. Despite the intensity of the situation, the hilarity that my bike ride is punctuated by the same Tuesday puddles that collect in the outer banks of the street typically keeps me from cursing the rain for impeding my efforts to make it to class.

I swerve between cars and pedestrians, then through the mass of students in raincoats that rival the hues of the fall foliage as I near the Roux Center. The marching students uniformly bow their heads against the rain, arms squeezed against their bodies and hands hidden in their pockets. I conclude that they must not realize that it always rains on Tuesdays, because if they did, the sidewalks of Longfellow Avenue would surely be teeming with chatter and celebration at the peculiarity of the pattern rather than with solemnity and the anxiety that accompanies the 8:30 a.m. rush.

Preemptively squeezing the brakes and dismounting simultaneously, I scramble the combination on my bike lock and bound up two stairs at a time to the second floor. I step through the classroom door and am greeted by the reverberating chatter of 89 other people finding their seats, their neon raincoats sprawled in exhaustion over the backs of their chairs. The professor’s voice thunders over the sea of students to call the class to order as my backpack thuds to the floor, and I breathe a sigh of relief.

I sink into my seat, pants saturated with rain, and I scan the heads in front of me, spotting the students whose hair drips like mine. I can usually tell that these students, the ones who bear the most striking resemblance to wet dogs, must have biked to class as well.

Except for the Tuesday that my morning rush caused me to mistakenly believe that I had hard boiled the egg that I attempted to eat in class (it exploded on me), I perceive the rains as a unique blessing and good omen. I see them as a wink from the Universe, encouraging me to hunker down indoors and  appreciate the shelter, community, sustenance and opportunities to which I have access here at Bowdoin.

Last week, the Tuesday rain was a Tuesday snow. This week was icy rain. Though the seasons are changing, the precipitation pattern persists. I throw a wink back to the Universe for gifting Brunswick with this funky meteorological treat.

Dalia Tabachnik is a member of the Class of 2021.

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