Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Raindrop Races

When I was younger, riding in the car on a rainy day, I would often lose myself, watching the raindrops slide across the windshield. I used to imagine them with personalities, all trying to reach that part of the windshield where the wipers couldn't reach, collecting smaller raindrops on their way, which would make them bigger and faster. I imagined them all huddled together down in that one triangle at the bottom where the wipers never reached, waiting until they thought they had a chance, then they'd take off. I imagined the little ones as children, and the big ones as adults. Groups of them were families, all fleeing to safety together. The drops that had made it safely to the top waited and cheered them on, welcoming them when they arrived.

But inevitably, they didn't all make it. Some of them were swept away by the giant, malicious windshield wipers, while the others watched in horror. Some of them, separated from the rest of their families, would cry on the shoulders of others, wondering how they would continue on, feeling responsible and guilty and wishing it had been them.

I worry about the little me, sometimes.

If I was in the back seat, I would watch them race from the top front corner of the window to the bottom corner, gobbling up the little drops in their paths. That was always an epic sprint, each of them engaged in fierce competition with the next, all headed for that prize. I don't think I ever actually thought of what the prize was, I just knew that it was important and would change the life of the lucky raindrop that won. Every once in a while one would slow to a stop in the middle of the window. Sometimes I would tap the glass in an effort to help him along, but most of the time I was a neutral spectator. Often, those would become fuel for a bigger, faster droplet as it sped toward the imaginary finish line.

No one ever won these races, as far as I was concerned. That might have been because I could never see the finish line. I guess I always imagined it was off in the distance somewhere, and I was only viewing part of the course. The winner was never important to me; I just watched droplet after droplet race across the window. There's probably some philosophical, proverbial point I could make here, about the journey being more important than the destination, or about enjoying things as simple as raindrops on a car window, but I'm not going to. I'm going to leave this one as it is, as I know my younger self would have done.

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