Saturday, February 2, 2008
Caught in a winter storm
“Excuse me. Pardon me. Sorry.”
I dipped and twisted my way down the sodden street; alternating carrying the umbrella directly in front of me, hiding from the brutal gusts of wind or holding it high above my head so as to not get entangled in a war of spokes with others hurrying, head down in the rain. The wind threatened to snatch the umbrella and carry it away or when frustrated, turn it inside out. I tried to angle the umbrella against the rain and wind. Rain lashed my pants and water dripped from the tips of the ribs. Managing the umbrella and not paying attention to my where I was walking, I stepped in several gutter lakes. The city was awash in a raw winter storm.
Carrying an umbrella in the driving rain and wind in a large city is an exercise in courtesy and perseverance. My umbrella is one of those huge black British-types with a curved wooden handle. You have seen them. Most New Yorkers carry small sensible collapsible ones the barely cover their heads. Mine can cover an entire family of 4 if pressed into service. Yes, it is a pain to carry around when it is furled and not in use. But in my humble opinion, in the world of umbrellas, more is more.
I rarely walk in the rain anymore. Living on the mountain, I get in my car and drive to wherever I am going. If I have to run into the store, I do not get out an umbrella, but dash off unprotected. If it is truly a deluge, I will fish around in the back seat and carry one but only from the car to the office.
I need to embrace the umbrella. We have all seen pictures of monkeys using large leaves to keep off the rain. I have even seen squirrels use their tails for the same thing. Once in Costa Rica, I saw a tiny hummingbird wait out the rain under the leaf of an umbrella plant. If animals are smart enough to protect themselves from the rain, I should too. I am going to start to carry an umbrella all the time. It won't make me look like a weenie...right?