It rained here last night for the first time in months. The first proper rain of the winter, which as a 'Brit' is still gobsmacking to me. No rain for months and months? It's unnatural. My Mum says that people from Manchester have webbed feet due to growing up suffused in drizzle. Not here.
Now for most Santa Barbarans (Sanna Barrbrans) the first rain of the season means turning off your sprinklers and cutting back on your monstrous water bills, or for some it's 'Stormwatch 2006', no joke, rain here is a headline event. For me, it is usually always welcome, except when it's the first rain of the season, because that means the end of ocean swimming.
I ocean swim. By choice. That's one of the things I would never, ever, have envisioned myself doing 15 years ago growing up in the UK, well that and living in the glorious U S of A, but again, that's another story. I ocean swim and I love it.
During the summer a group of us swim at least twice a week; on Sunday mornings which we follow with breakfast, and on Thursday evenings, which we follow with Mai Tais (much better). In fact we consume so many Mai Tais at the Shoreline Beach Cafe that we call ourselves the Mai Tris (as most of us have done a triathlon or two along the way).
The rain means no more ocean swimming for a while because the first proper downpour flushes months of rubbish, pesticides, oil and other chemicals right into the ocean, and for a few weeks at least it will be like swimming in a sewer, which it effectively is.
I love the photo above, because it epitomizes what I love most about the Mai Tris. The camaraderie, the booze, the fact that we're all shapes and sizes, and that we all wear the most thrown-together wetsuits and are generally really crap swimmers. And that's why I'm sad it rained for the first time this winter.