de rein

I’m listening to Billie Holiday’s I’ll Be Seeing You as I watch strangers huddle beneath storefront awnings, taking shelter from the bouncing rain.  I’m in a café, warm, drinking my coffee with two hands, writing bits in my journal, wondering what brings people out in this stormy weather.  Ducky boots and yellow ponchos.  Strollers covered in plastic.  A wet dog with a wet red bandana waits for her owner as he stops in for his second cup of coffe. 

I feel like going outside to clean.  And I don’t clean; I rearrange mess.  The city’s landscape would work with this song if there weren’t an empty Gatorade bottle, random strips of cardboard (why are they always everywhere?), a pen cap, cigarette filters, rolling as the rain jabs them.  The birds sit on scaffolding, waiting for a yielding.  Older women in black rain gear push shopping carts.  Tourists duck inside, spreading blue and beige maps flat against their corner café table.  I wonder where they’re from, if they have cardboard cluttered streets, if they’ve heard Billie Holiday in the rain before.  I wonder what they’re searching for; their fingers push along their maps, following red lines.  I wonder where they’ve been.  I want to be closer.  The woman beside them stops reading her book on Indian Art, sliding the chair with her handbag and umbrella nearer to her, as if it contained a toddler, not her wallet. 

Now Otis Redding is crooning, and it makes me think of the cabin scene from Dirty Dancing.  I’ve always liked the rain scenes in movies, and on days like this, I find comfort in them.  Even the foreign ones.



  1. I love talking to tourists, but being native to NYC makes it more difficult to do so since I do not frequent the same places, mostly hotels. It's the reason why I love Las Vegas. If you talk to someone, there is a real good chance they are not from where you are, that they are not in the same line of work, etc. Same thing with Epcot. I not only like to see how the other 95% live, I like to show people what wonderful people we Americans are, particularly we NYers.

    BTW, nothing better than to be able to hang out all day, safe and warm inside, while people are running around getting soaked outside, going somewhere they HAVE to go.

  2. an ipod in the rain makes everything seem like a movie to me. whether it's one i've seen or something yet to be made. why is it that two hands on a mug elicits that cozy response?

  3. you are the best Stephanie. I teach in a semi-rural community in indiana. My students are mainly single parents, women all. they are all pretty destitute and love to gather around our school computer and log onto your blog. it is a near certainty that your blog and shows like sex and the city will be their only experience with NY life. I can not begin to tell you how much your writing, but especially your food photography impacts these women, most of whom are on some sort of welfare and merely eat rather than dine. Steff, these women are mesmerized by your food pix.

    anyway, keep up the good work, try to minimize the grammatical mistakes as your influence reaches into that area as well. The other day one of my students started to capitalize school subjects like math and psychology after reading you know whose blog in which "Psychology" was capped.

  4. try nina simone with a glass of white wine, a great novel, and a glass window streaked with rain…it's beyound cozy. beyound comfort. thanks for the reminder. (open up more.) love, me.

  5. I might have been one of the people pushing the babies covered in plastic. Sometimes it feels as though I sneak(old 43 year old mom of toddlers) onto your site simply to enjoy you. I wish that you had been blogging when I was younger and experiencing life in the city. Thanks for providing such a glimpse complete with those crazy tossed-up feelings from what seems so long ago.

  6. This reminds me of Vancouver. The rain is classic BC…I think you might like it…:)

  7. I was wondering about your taste in music, Steph. Good to see you surpassed my expectations. Billie and Otis make life worth living. I hope you like Prince as well.

  8. I used to love listening to Paris Jazz before it became a pay-for service. The announcer often used to reference "Billi hallidai" in her seductive tone.

  9. It actually reminds me of an episode from "Sex and the city" (I believe it's season 2 : "The man, he myth, the viagra") where the girls discuss "urban relationships myth" where " it happens to a friend of a friend of my friend xyz". And at the end of the episode, Miranda finally want to try to believe that maybe she and Steve have a future together, so she went up the stairs from the clubb (Denial) they were having a drink at and she run in the rain calling out for Steve and they kiss passionnately … IN THE RAIN :-)

    Great moment and a music by "Love is the Groove"

    Love.. indeed !

  10. It doesn't want to be polemic.. but really I find your recent posts quite boring…
    It's not my problem because I will just stop reading them, but I wish you can find again your writing skills, since you decided to make a carrer on it.


  11. "…rearranging a mess," love that line. It's my idea of cleaning. I miss NY everyday, sometimes when I read your posts I feel like I'm there again.

  12. cool, I also like the rain scene in Dirty Dancing. And about tourists: when I am on my lunch break I often walk by on a hotel when I'm on my way to my favourite "soup corner". I see people sitting inside, looking outside, looking at me. What may they think? Hey, there's a woman walking by who must work here in this city. And I look inside, seeing the tourists having breakfast and I think how strange it is that for them this city is not their hometown, just a place where they wanted to stay for awhile, to do a sight-seeing tour, taking pictures. I live in this city. and I love this city. Talking about Hamburg, Germany, here. Thanks for your post.

  13. Yes, de rien means "nothing" in french but de rein literally doesn't mean anything.

  14. Love this feeling, being cozy and sipping coffee while watching the rain. Today is our first day of sun in a week, and your post makes me want it to rain again!

    Nothin' like the amazing Billie Holiday.

  15. Posts like these allow me to appreciate the greatness of life…without even leaving my trading desk. It inspires me to actually live my life after 5, instead of running errands like getting my dry cleaning, so I have something to wear to work the next day.

    Sincerely, thank you.

  16. Actually if I may correct you "Libtag" cause I am French. " de rien" would be more the equivalent of " you're welcome".

  17. Sold Out- Please resubmit your comment with a real email address and in suggestions.

  18. Totally miss that feeling. In Los Angeles, you feel guilty staying inside when the weather is so nice. Coffee serves its caffeine purposes only … not the deep down in your belly warmth needs. And you identify tourists by dress — nobody in LA wears shorts …. unless they are physically ON the beach. Not even to work out. And I haven't seen a sweater vest outside of the South in ages.

    Enjoy the rain, its comfort music and all the rest.

  19. Can't we just read Stephanie's blog and just enjoy it for what it is. No need to analyze every word. Let her have her say.

  20. I wonder if you actually identified the sex of the guy's dog, or if you're playing off some male/female thing there.

  21. Just wanted to drop a note to let you know that I have recently happened upon your blog and really enjoy it :) One band I always always listen to when I read your posts (clearly not on purpose – I was listening to them the first time I think I went back through your archive and since then I think it stuck).

    The Fray – they're quite good. you should check them out!

  22. Am I the only one who think "de rein" is just a goofy way to spell "The Rain" which is the topic of this post?

  23. Come on people. If you say it out loud, 'de rein' = 'the rain'. But feel free to counter this one :).
    Love the rain too. Wish the fall would kick in over here (Antwerp), but it's still 21°C…

  24. MJW-coffee is more than just caffeine. It is a way to linger over a fine meal, or even just linger over breakfast at the diner.

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