Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Vive La Rain

As far as I can recall, I've always loved the rain.

It was the harbinger of good things. Unscheduled school holidays. Staying indoors and watching TV all day. Anticipating lola's champorado for merienda. I don't think there's a child alive who doesn't enjoy playing in the rain, so the few times we were allowed to frolic gleefully in a downpour are among my fondest childhood memories.

Storms were even more glorious. I remember praying and praying for Signal No. 2, and considered Yoling, Duling, and Tililing to be tempestuous aunts whose visits were a free pass not to go to school. When my grandfather and uncles would literally batten down the house in anticipation of a storm's fury, I felt safe and protected. When the power would go out and the winds howled in the darkness outside, there was calm in the flickering light of my grandmother's gasera. I would watch the flame, warm and comforting like the blanket around me, until I, too, was out like a light.

As an adult, I still love to sleep safe and snug under the covers as the driving rain lashes outside.

Of course, I only love the rain as long as I don't get caught in it.

No sane person enjoys commuting in the rain. The murderous scramble for a jeep or bus, sardined with dripping and sweaty fellow wage-slaves. Getting caught in traffic while desperately needing to take a leak, with nothing to look forward to after disembarking except the certainty of wading through flooded streets in search of leptospirosis or worse, a chance meeting with an open manhole.

It also literally puts a damper on my social life - whatever wisps of it are left. When it rains, I couldn't be bothered to get dressed and go out. It's just far too tempting to stay in bed and watch endless DVDs. It also doesn't help that my compound gets flooded easily, or that my car is so lowered it doesn't run over snails so much as scrape them along. Just last week I missed a friend's birthday blowout (yes, I know you texted me all through the week to remind me) and another friend's anniversary (next time, send the wild horses) due to - you guessed it - the rain.

The fickleness of the weather also wreaks havoc on my work. It's comforting to know I wasn't the only one playing tag with the rain all throughout July. Clients, being the darlings that they are, will always approve outdoor storyboards at the onset of the rainy season. The loveliest of clients will make no provisions for weather contingency. And the sweetest of them all will carve their breakdates in stone: rain, storm, meteors hurtling down from the heavens notwithstanding.

It's a long-standing superstition in the industry that you have to make alay eggs at the Sta. Clara monastery if you wish to have good weather on the day of your shoot. I'd be willing to believe "Twilight" is a masterpiece of literature if it would make my shoots go smoother. So whenever the production assistants "forget" to offer eggs and dark clouds form simultaneously in the skies and on my brows, I threaten to offer their testicles instead if it would clear the heavens instantly.

Nevertheless, alay or no alay ng mga alalay, I had to play best of 3 with the rain for my last project. I cancelled a Friday shoot, which turned out to be a good call because it rained cats and dogs that day. My next bets were Sunday and Monday, and since it rained gerbils and skunks on Saturday, I called off the Sunday shoot, as well.

The sun shone fiercely and bright all throughout Sunday. As if that wasn't enough mockery, client texted me just to share her observation about what a fine day it was.

Monday came, and it was a draw. It rained, I fretted, but the rain was not an endless downpour. It gamely stopped to allow us to shoot a few frames here and there, and in the end, when you look at the commercial, you'd never think there was even a drop of precipitation that day. A colleague of mine fared less well: she had a two-day weekend shoot - requiring expanses of green fields and blue skies, of course - and both days they got rained out. Hard.

Both. Days.

Luckily she had a weather contingency - an extra day to shoot the following weekend. The sun shone happy and bright for most of the week, and on the day of her shoot - well, let's just say it's harder for people to tell if you're weeping when you're getting drenched.

Still - I love the rain.

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