By Sarah-Ann Binning

Allow me to begin my second “rainy day” blog post with a silly personal story from freshman year at Ohio University.

At pre-college orientation they made us watch a ridiculous film where past students giving advice to freshman. I remember one girl said she spent hours getting ready for class on the first day. Hair straightened, make-up applied, cutest outfit picked out. When she stepped outside, she discovered it was pouring. Ten steps outside and she had already slipped and ruined her hour of preparation. She had to quick run upstairs and change.

Now, I think the advice that she was trying to offer us was not to worry about what you wear to class. This isn’t high school and it’s not a popularity test. But what I learned was bring an umbrella and check the forecast before leaving the house.

I came to school prepared. I convinced my mom to let me bring the largest umbrella we owned to OU. This thing was a beauty and was decorated in comic strips. (Funny and entertaining to read while walking in gloomy rainy weather!) I’m not sure how my family came into possession of it, but my grandpa’s daily newspaper logo was splattered on it, so I’m assuming he had something to do with it.

The first rainy day Fall quarter, I was a giddy school girl. Time to bust out my unique umbrella. I grabbed my very distinctive umbrella, ready to make the trek up Jeff Hill. Stepping outside, I opened up the umbrella and instantaneously it broke.  It wouldn’t stay open and had rusted into a shape that only  kept half my body dry. I struggled up the hill, trying to keep at least my book bag dry. When I got to class, I threw the umbrella into the trash outside the door. My favorite umbrella had betrayed me and I was a wet soaking mess.

After class, I decided to run to Court Street and buy a new umbrella. Along the way, I noticed the comic strip-disaster of an umbrella sitting in a different dumpster. Someone must have spotted it in the trash and decided a broken umbrella was better than no umbrella. Apparently whoever picked it up had decided it was a worthless POS and tossed it when they reached a dry building.

Throughout the day, I spotted that umbrella in no less than five trash cans. It comforted me to know I wasn’t the only baboon who made a moron of herself trying to keep dry.

The sudden surge of rainy weather makes me smile, because I get to tell this story. But the one thing that disappoints me about the rain in Athens is that it rarely thunderstorms. We’ll get an occasional clasp of thunder and maybe some streaks of heat lightning now and then, but we don’t seem to get the never-ending, eardrum deafening, lightning flashing storms.

I can remember three or four storms in the four years I’ve lived in Athens. Here’s one of them:

Students in Brown Hall caught this candid moment on video. The lightning hit the lightning rod (duh, because that’s what it’s there for!) and set off the fire alarm in the process.

I selected this video because of the lightning. Lightning is today’s grammar topic of choice.

Do not confuse this with “lightening.” Lightening is a progressive form of the verb “lighten.” We use this form when we wish to say that something is being made lighter in weight, color or harshness/severity.

Examples: Alan is lightening his backpack by removing some textbooks. Sally is lightening the image because it is  too dark. There’s no hope in lightening Greg’s punishment.

Lightning, on the other hand, can be used as a noun or an adjective. As a noun it means a flash of light that is caused by a discharge of electricity in the atmosphere. Example: The lightning struck Brown Hall.  As an adjective it indicates swift speed, such as the speed of a flash of lightning. Example: The track star runs lightning fast.

(A Editor’s note to the wise: Do not be fooled by Google images. I did a search for lightening, so see if I could find examples of incorrect uses of the word. I found so many examples of people using the incorrect spelling. When typing lighTENning, I found thousands, upon thousands of pictures of lighTNing—flashes of light!)

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