Now that I’ve lived in San Francisco during the rainy season, I have learned about a new type of rain.

Most of you aren’t familiar with Carolina Rain, which is a great song by Carolina Rain. Some of the quotes are “rain feels like heaven when the water hits my skin” and “nothing washes my soul clean like Carolina rain.”

Carolina rain usually derives from initial thunderstorm that puts the fear of God in you. It is famous because it can be a sunny day, 95 degrees, and bam! here comes the rain from out of nowhere. The clouds convey an ever-changing color from dark to green to purple giving one the feeling they are gazing upward into a giant kaleidoscope. The winds swirl, shift violently, and scream as if the grim reaper were coming for you. The clouds, which were once at a safe distance, have run at a pace like a pack of buffaloes that they are on top of you. If you are outside and it comes, It is so sudden and violent that you run for cover in a stranger’s garage or curl up in your car praying that the lightning won’t pierce the roof. You’ll never see the streets clear out faster than when a Carolina thunderstorm rolls in. As they say down south, “Get the women and children off the streets!”

After the initial onset, though, the rainy aftermath may differ.

There are two types of Carolina Rain which is differentiated by the moisture. First, there is “wet rain” which is brought on by a constant deluge that last for hours and will soak your clothes for days. In fact it even seems that after you wash and dry your clothes they are still wet. The water also keeps your skin moist; it has a lasting effect that prevails for days.

On the other hand there is “dry rain”. After the heathens from heaven disappear, almost like they never came, dry rain can appear. Dry rain is more than a mist but less than a shower. It will have become a completely sunny, blue clear sky, with only a small dark blob in the distance. Often, one would wonder where the rain comes from. And when the rain hits your skin it evaporates as if it were not raining.

Just as a corollary, I’ll throw in a bit about the Japanese rainy season which is a steady rain with a constant mist subsuming the atmosphere. The rain is moisturizing and soothing and has an invigorating scent blending cherry blossoms and honey sickles and I used to call it “sweet rain”.

Well, I’ve noticed in San Francisco something that is somewhat different. I call this “cold rain”, not because it is somewhat cold when it rains but when the rain hits your skin it sends a chill all over your body. It sends a chill down your spine that will run to the back of your knees, down your shin, into your pinky toe, and then back up suddenly into your left earlobe. And as I sit and write this, my skin still feels as if it had a cold plasma layer right under the top layer of my skin that has little crystals embedded within the membrane. These crystals can keep one cool for hours until they seem to gradually sublime .

I’ll take any rain over this cold rain. By the way, you may wonder why I’ve noticed this. Well, I’ve never used an umbrella. The Japanese thought I was the strangest person ever. I used to just where my Mizuno baseball rain jacket everywhere.

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