Friday, January 25, 2013

Mythbusters in the rain

I'm discovering a different relationship with rain.

I spent seven years in Connecticut (New Haven, on the coast, the southern part of the Long Island sound). It rained there... a lot. Way more than it rained in my natal lands of Los Angeles California, where (effectively) I'm living right now.

Raining in Connecticut? Well, it does that. Put on the rain stuff and just go through it. No big deal. Same with snow. And hail. And pretty much anything else falling wet and cold from the sky. No big deal. I wasn't driving through it, I was always walking through it, a mile or more a day. But, after the first year or so, no big deal.

This week, it has been raining in southern California. And I'm in a wheelchair. And life is very different in the rain, in a wheelchair.

(I really didn't need to just see the Mythbusters episode testing whether you get wetter if you walk or run through the rain. They found that "walking makes you wetter, running keeps you drier." Well, boys, try that in a wheelchair.)

My chair spends its "automotive transportation" time in the open back of my truck. Then I get quite wet while I stand in the rain hauling the chair out of the back of the truck. Then I get wet siting in the rain, moving as best I can (quickly enough for most practical purposes, on a smooth flat surface). There's a brief and glorious dry period inside wherever it was that I went, and then the whole "out in the wet" process is repeated as the chair is returned to its home in the truck.

Most days, in it-never-rains-in-Southern-California Los Angeles county, it's a non-issue. In the rain... it is.

So, I'm adjusting my travels to prefer locations with covered parking lots. Or wait for the rain to stop. Or just stay home.

I did, however, discover that when I was traveling through the rain in a powered wheelchair (which I had in my last year working for the high school) that I get windchill on my legs, and my shins get wet--because those are what meet the raindrops first, as the "ship of state" whisks itself through the rain.

Not a particularly "Mythbusters-worthy" experiment, testing whether you get wetter in the rain walking in a walker, using a self-powered wheelchair, or a motorized one? I'll tell you right now... you're getting wet. Very wet.

But... it'd be fun to watch.


Muffie said...

Could you try a large poncho, or would that inhibit rolling the chair? On my electric scooter, I wore raingear, but my hands always got wet. Maybe we need a new invention of a lightweight umbrella that can be fastened to the chair. One probably already exists!

Ellen Stanton said...

Great blog! Hopefully 2013 will be the year for the cure for those afflicted (like my sister Cate) with MS. Please visit my blog: and share your story! We would love that!
Marianne and Ellen

nicole said...

Yes I do not like tackling the rain with my scooter. truth is though I'm more concerned with my hair getting wet though!!!

Robert Parker said...

Muff: Great idea. Sadly, my experience keeping the choir robe out of the wheelchair's wheels on Sunday mornings doesn't make me think that anything with big floppy anythings will play nicely with the chair... but it's worth a try. I don't have a poncho, but I have a Tyrolean cape that's basically bullet-proof, so that'll be what I try when the rain gets that bad again... which, according to my iPhone, it probably won't. For a while, at least.