This is one of the basic problems with Portland -- if you're not from here, you really don't understand what we mean by "it rains all the time." And it's not just the rain, it's the complete lack of sunlight. Between the cloud cover and the angle of the sun in November, the days feel like some gothic twilight; coming in from the gloom into an office with bright florescent lights is as jarring as leaving a building and going into the sun in the rest of the world.
It's not like we don't have sunny days, we just don't have many of them. The days that it's not raining are often cloudy or foggy, with occasional "sun breaks" where you get just enough of a hint of sunshine to be a torturous reminder of what could have been a beautiful day.
But then, I like the dim days and long periods of cool wet weather. Too many days of sunshine get me down -- I remember working with a client based north of San Diego. He was from Portland and when I visited the office on a warm, sunny February day and mentioned the cold, sleeting weather I had just left, he said, "Man, I don't know how many more days of 72 degrees and sunny I can take."
It's true the rain makes things difficult. Bicycling in the 38 degree rain isn't fun, especially when you share the road with spray from the four wheel drive monsters people tend to choose for our long winters. Fall was pretty this year, until the current downpour turned the leaves into a mush that looks remarkably like Corn Flakes left too long in the milk.
I think one of the reasons Portland has that anachronistic feeling of a timber or fishing town from fifty years ago is because our weather makes us seek out places we actually want to hang out in. When you're going to hide from the rain in a public place for a few hours, you don't have the patience to sit in an Applebees or Red Robin. You need to feel like you're at a private club in an Agatha Christie novel.
Our cozy pubs are cozier in the winter -- the wood smoke from our local pub invites you in, and the random musician in the corner keeps you around for the third pint as much as the prospect of going back out into the rain for a cold wet walk home. During the day, our coffee shops are like a warm blanket with that jolt of caffeine that makes it possible to get back into the fray.
And the weather in Portland is perfect if you want to live in an Agatha Christie novel, although, surprisingly, not everyone likes Agatha Christie, and not everyone likes Portland rain.
Good thing I do...