Wading in a Winter Wonderland

We have rain!

Rain on the patioSo I broke out the Christmas music and started a fire.

I must admit the technology isn’t perfect. Enjoying the season this way doesn’t allow me to sit by the fire AND watch a movie, unless I unhitch the iPad and put the fire on the coffee table. But it’s all worth it. These things are important, you see, because I suffer from a condition unique to expats in hot-non-Christian countries. Or maybe just unique to me. Either way, I call it Seasonal Orientation Disorder.

I don’t know how Arabs do it, live by a calendar that disassociates holidays from seasons of the year. The Islamic calendar differs from the Gregorian one, so that Ramadan advances by eleven days every year. This year, Ramadan started in July and finished in early August. Next year, it will start in late June and go through most of July, and it will continue to back through the spring, winter, fall, and back to summer. And they all seem fine with that.

Me, I need to orient myself to space and time by marking the seasons with their associated holidays. You have sweaters and fires and evergreens for Christmas. The Fourth of July is for picnics and watermelon. Flowers for Easter. Pumpkins and colored leaves for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Am I right? So planting petunias and walking around in bare feet in November is disorienting. Plenty of Americans live in warm-weather places and wear shorts while doing their Christmas shopping, but they do it surrounded by holiday lights and music and window displays full of snowflakes. Santa laughs at them everywhere. Here? Nothing. So I have a hard time keeping the season in mind, and when I see a Christmas-oriented commercial on a TV show I’m streaming, it really throws me off. This forecasted week of rain could be a game-changer.

Roadway flooding in Riyadh, 17 Nov 2013. Source: Tadias.com

Riyadh flooding after rain, 17 Nov 2013. Source: RiyadhTips

The drivers here are as ill equipped as their city to deal with water (and that is water, just under weird light, not Mountain Dew), and they are arguably the worst drivers in the world even in optimal situations, which leads to this…

King Fahd Road after rain, 17 November 2013. Source: RiyadhTips

King Fahd Road after rain, 17 November 2013. Source: RiyadhTips

(Don’t assume the sideways or wrong-facing cars got pushed that way.) RiyadhTips, my source for the above two pictures, has a Facebook page that’s a terrific place to find all kinds of information that would be hard to ferret out for yourself. Such as this little nugget, which should delight everyone who’s ever rolled eyes at the way schools close in Atlanta or Nashville after a couple of inches of snow:

Ah, perfect. Cloudy skies, wet pavement, schools closed, and when I walked over to the compound market this morning I even wore a light jacket. I can’t squander this opportunity. So I’ve turned up the crackling sounds on the fire as high as I can to drown out the lawnmower next door.

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