Editor's Column

"The great Washington State Drought of 2001 is getting tough to survive for some of us on Whidbey Island. It almost killed me Sunday night.It all started a couple of months ago when the windshield wiper nob on the family limousine broke. Since we were in the middle of a drought that started in January, I figured why fix it? I'd be spending the summer hosing dust off the windshield and would probably forget where the windshield wiper nob was by the time the rainy season starts up in October. This attitude was reinforced by a visit to a car dealer who priced a new nob at $100, which seemed high for a piece of plastic worth 59 cents. The dealer probably thought I'd pay up since the wipers wouldn't work without the nob, but he forgot we were in the middle of a drought which had been proclaimed nightly on the TV news for many months. I figured I could start a windshield wiper nob fund in a quart jar and have it filled with $100 worth of quarters, dimes and nickels by October. Meanwhile, driving in drought conditions would be no problem since you don't need windshield wipers in a drought.Unfortunately, we've had the dampest drought on record and the lack of windshield wipers has been somewhat distracting, so much so that my wife took action by having the kid next door rub some rain buster stuff on the windshield. On a trip to the airport that would otherwise have killed us, this stuff worked miracles. The rain would crash into the glass and fly off in billions of little beads, leaving clear vision ahead. It was like driving through a crystal storm. Unfortunately, the stuff eventually wore off.Sunday evening after hearing the TV weather guy say the drought was still in progress I headed to Freeland on some crucial errand. What I assumed must be Dust Bowl type clouds of dirt turned out be regular Washington rain clouds. It didn't drizzle or sprinkle or rain sporadically, it simply poured. I could have driven off the end of the Nichols dock and not have noticed any difference driving six feet under Holmes Harbor. I could have pulled over and waited for the downpour to end, but that would have been as humiliating as asking for directions. So I followed a bright set of tail lights and made it home. I was so happy I decided to kiss the ground and nearly drowned myself in my own lawn.By Monday the skies were several shades of gray lighter, and no rain was falling when I drove to work. I'm starting to thing that they might be right about this drought. It's just taking some time to settle in. There's still no need to spend $100 on a plastic wiper nob. "

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