I was a player for a youth [American] football team. John Lithgow was the head coach. He explained to us that we would learn a new technique that would confuse our opponents, a trick play, and we could surely win with this technique. He called it... the octopus.
He got me to emulate his idea by shouting out what to do. The Octopus technique, a defensive move, involved falling onto all fours, like a dog, and moving a little away from the line of scrimmage (i.e. the attacking people). When the attacking team comes closer, you roll onto your back, waving your legs and arms around (more like a dying cockroach, may I add) in the hope that you can grab onto one of their legs, or just trip them over, or something, with minimal damage involved. I did what was asked, but the attacking person simply avoided going near me, leaving me to die on my back.
Coach John Lithgow was not impressed at my embarrassing escapade, telling me I performed the play with no personality, no poetry. A football coach and an alliterator. Genius. So, good ol' coach showed us the play himself.
In the same way that you wouldn't let yourself get too close to the face of a dog known for biting, you shouldn't leave yourself in a position where you can be easily kicked in the balls - and hard - by a hulking kid with anger issues - but that's exactly what Lithgow did, and that was exactly what Lithgow got.
Class was dismissed.
It began with families that lived on clouds, using them to travel around, and part-spy, part-aid us. Every drop of rain that falls from clouds is an idea, a feeling, an emotion from that family. When families were happy, they rained down stories and warmth and good vibes. When they were angry, they rained down with fury and unease and an urgency to isolate yourself away from other people in the rain with "umbrellas", which ensure every person has their own bubble of personal space.
Typically, us humans aren't emotionally connected enough any more. We don't feel the same emotions that get rained down. We've misconstrued it in this recent era. We've gotten used to the potential of the rain being bad in a Pavlovian way, so we just wrap up and keep the rain from hitting us, sometimes missing out on the most beautiful ideas and sensations, just because we're not in tune enough to this planet, and its desire to keep us all feeling harmonious and loved, and every time it rains and we wrap ourselves up, we detach ourselves further.
But sometimes we get it, sometimes we're in the right frame of mind to appreciate it.
Sometimes, when it rains, it feels good on us. Sometimes, for no reason, people just want to sing in the rain, or dance, or just feel better. One kid said he'd never felt unhappy when it rained, and never considered other people could find rain upsetting. After that talk, he waited for it to rain again, and when it did, he got his same euphoric feeling and danced and sang and noticed that... it was a similar cloud that rained on him, he s'posed. Was it the same cloud raining over him again? The kid noticed how little the cloud moved around, over the next few days.
On the higher level, the cloud belonged to a lonely child, who wanted a friend on the lower level. He honed in on this one kid in particular, and thought of all the exciting things they could do together on both levels, and the excitement caused him to tremble with joy, and rain onto the kid.
"Cloud families, and therefore clouds, move because they want to travel and see the world. It's a big and beautiful place, and it's there to enjoy. Clouds don't just follow the direction of the wind, though. They can stop too," an elder once said, passing through on a world tour of cloud history.
"It's just not a good idea to stay in one spot for too long. It's boring to just watch one group, one family, when all this wonder is around. When the world doesn't change, you lose your capacity to show as much emotion. Monotony is the killer of feelings, positive or negative. Also, if you stay around in one spot for long enough, people start to wonder what might be above the cloud, and we don't need to get found out," the elder added.
"People might even associate one cloud as a happy cloud; when it rains from that cloud the people below will be filled with happiness. But we can't always be happy. We need the lows to make the highs more euphoric. And what if the person above that cloud isn't happy? It'd be even more upsetting for the person below. How many people wish on the Northern Star to find out nothing happens? Never a good idea to give those ground people false hope. Drop a little hope down on them sometimes, maybe, though these days it's a wonder if they take it in..."
(aside: the elder was voiced by Vincent Price)
And so the story involved the child below trying to find out whether it was just the one cloud, because he felt it was, but the people around him belittled him so much, his mother and father were always laughing and saying it's just a similar cloud at the same time, and he felt confused because he felt this cloud was there, and for a reason. It was there just for him. And once he was certain it was, he had to work out how to get up there, because he knew there were adventures to be had if he could get up there. He'd felt it in the rain recently, that this cloud might move on without him one day, and he'd lose that joy, and that'd be the worst thing in the world that could occur to him.
Okay, that's that over and done with and written down to possibly elaborate on. Now, to the more boring part of my life - my visa paperwork, and therefore my staying in the country.