Tuesday, February 21, 2017

RAIN RANT or-- No Gaslighting,* Please

*A term borrowed from the movie GASLIGHT, meaning to make one believe she’s lost her mind and what she sees and knows just isn’t so.

I’m sitting by my window and watching yet another deluge, blessed rain though it is. I’m wondering about reality and perception. What else is a writing person to think about, under these wet circumstances?

The State of California officials tell us we’re still in drought, even with the snow-pack twice the normal average and the rainfall more than twice the normal pre-drought.

So much for trusting these governmental agencies. Brings up the Yiddish saying: you can’t pee on my back and tell me it’s raining. In this case, it is you can’t tell me we’re parched while we’re drowning.

Oh, I know. I’ve read the explanations. I’ve considered them seriously. I tried to respect the experts who said that maybe one percent of the state is still in drought. Maybe the snowpack will melt too early. Maybe April showers just won’t be.

And maybe my cats are not crying for food, but telling me they’ve decided to run for the presidency. Oh, wait. That last one could be true.

It’s never a great thing to manipulate the reality that's right in front of our noses, even for “good” or “noble” intentions.

One such explanation "for the good" is that if the drought-watch agencies say the drought is over for now, people won’t conserve water in the future.
News Flash: California has had droughts cycles for as long as I’ve been here, (that’s a very long time) and we have shown we know how to respond.

What is more likely to happen is that the next time we have a real drought, we’ll not believe what well-intentioned government agencies say.

Even worse, we won’t believe our own eyes.

Gaslighting is only all right in fiction, where it is a requirement. Outside of creative storytelling, it’s not okay. OK?

Tell the truth, Ruth.


  1. I've been thinking about you and all my other California friends. Hope you're doing okay, in spite of the frustrations. I just wish the rain were more spaced out for you folks. Hugs

  2. Well said, Mirka. And you might be right about your cats. ;)

  3. I just searched Google and found an article on the L.A. Times titled, "Most of California is out of the drought".


    As long as I've been keeping track of California weather, it seems that it seesaws from too dry to too wet. But I'd still trade a California winter for an Ontarian one.

    1. Yes, the LA Times has expressed incredulity at the persistent U.S.Drought Monitor's refusal to state the obvious. They have said they would re-evaluate in May. Meanwhile, I shake my head as I shake off the water while closing and opening my umbrella.

  4. Hah, it was in my very first writing group that I was introduced to the movie Gaslight. It became an immediate favorite with me and one of my daughters. But you're right, gaslighting is best left to fiction!