It’s quite funny when it rains in Los Angeles because nobody knows how to dress or drive for it, and those are things that otherwise Angelenos pride themselves on. It’s not a downpour but certainly more than a drizzle—it’s just what any other part of the country would consider an average rainfall, and yet it’s like hell has broken loose.

I saw one car doing at least 40mph down my relatively calm, residential street. Saw a person wearing a heavy coat under a full-body see-through rainjacket and then an umbrella. Every few minutes there’s a new set of sirens wailing in the distance. It’s just madness.

So many people who live in LA aren’t actually from here, and I have to wonder, did none of them come from a place that has a climate which includes rain? Like, sure, I have spent enough time in Portland and Southeast Alaska that this type of weather doesn’t phase me much—I wore a hat and a heavy shirt out today—but to see so many grown-ass adults absolutely incapable of dealing with weather is fucking wild. It’d be hilarious if it also wasn’t so dangerous.

The brief and pungent cackle of humanity spews out in fireworks and sirens and idling cars and the gaggle of passengers greeting drivers, their bottles clank and doors slam shut.

All around, in a passive and steady cadence, the wind wails through the trees and their palms, the rain patters down upon the streets and the cars and the people to the beat of inevitability.

Some might call it a celebration, but as the noise of the machines fade and voices cry out in abrupt abstractions, it all sounds like protest to me—a fear that the wind continues to carry it all away; a reminder that we can mark the passage of time all we like, but none will survive it.

For now, my cats remain curious and comfortable. They know nothing of the New Year, but I give them a handful of treats nonetheless. The rain brings a certain fresh air that reminds me of Portland—the past sneaks up on us all in subtle ways. But I am no longer there, and it is no longer then.

I am in Los Angeles, and it is 2023. Hello, again.