Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Things people googled recently that brought them here: are dutch people snobby (can be), keith richards narcissism, how to stop midweek drinking (can’t imagine I was much help) and my favourite, things to do with a rubber mallet which brought them here.

Today we’re going to discuss umbrellas.

Its nearly spring, which means that a lot of us are probably getting caught in some spring “showers”. Unless you live in Vancouver (holla!) in which case you practically live with an umbrella glued to your hand because you’re basically living in a downpour this time of year. I remember a local TV personality espousing all the positive qualities of rain in this city because it keeps us all green and young.

Possibly true but it also has a tendency to keep you soggy and damp.

Don’t get me wrong- I love the rain. I love the sound it makes against the window when I’m snuggled under the covers in bed, or on the couch with a blanket, a book and a cup of tea (although, the cup of tea portion is usually much more in that nice cozy part of my imagination than something that I actually do for myself on such rainy days)- I’m even OK with a reasonable shower if I’m outside.

Not a huge fan of the gale force winds and sideways rain though.

Anywhoodle. If you live anywhere with rain, like I do, an umbrella becomes less of a fashionable accessory and more of a necessity.

What’s that? A raincoat? I don’t think I have worn a raincoat since I was 11. I have a waterproof jacket but that only holds up so long in the torrential, days’ long downpours that my fair city sometimes imposes upon me.

This morning I watched a young man fight with his umbrella at the bus stop. It wouldn’t collapse. Initially, I admit, I smiled to myself what I believed was a smile of fellowship- many times have I found myself in the same predicament. But it soon became apparent that if this umbrella didn’t do what it was supposed to do before the bus arrived, the young man in question could very well have thrown a fit. I for one wouldn’t blame him. Umbrella collapsing and stashing is already such a delicate balance of agility and etiquette, that when it doesn’t collapse the way it should, the whole fragile dance and routine is thrown way off course leaving you the holder of a  soggy, splashy mess.

What does your umbrella say about you? Does your broken down, busted up give-way-at-the-slightest-breeze umbrella give the impression that you are a disorganized procrastinator? Or just a person that is happy with the status quo? Does the brightly patterned umbrella give off an air of youthful enthusiasm? Or flighty naiveté? Does the designer umbrella, crafted from the very finest umbrella materials available show others that you are right where you thought you would be, successful and driven? Or is it a gauche indicator of the noveau riche, offputting rather than classic?

Being the proud owner of a hand-me-down basic black umbrella that has one of its ‘spokes’ exposed to the elements, and has flipped in the wind on many occasions, I tend to think that my umbrella probably does say something about me: I’m just trying to stay dry! But I like to look at what other people’s umbrellas look like and try to imagine their thought process behind the purchase.

Mine was literally left behind. By The Swede who had no use for it back home. I wonder about those folks that choose to bring a golf umbrella to work sometimes. Where do they store it? How do they deal with it on the bus? Do they rest it against the seat? What about if they are sitting along the aisle? Do they let a wet umbrella rest on their legs? Does everyone’s umbrella smell faintly of mold?

OK that’s disgusting, you’re right. But I’m too superstitious to allow my umbrella to be open inside. So rot away in rainwater all day it does.

I should probably look into a new umbrella- I fear that mine has reached the end of its life. I wonder if it would just last until summer? How much could it possibly rain until then?

That. Is the sound of the Universe laughing at me. 


  1. We call them brollies in the UK. ' Got your brolly?'

    I have one which has a short handle which can be carried in my purse everyday so I always have it.

    You need that in the UK.

  2. Its a small one, totally fits into my purse. But it smells and is falling apart. It showers in the UK, it RAINS in Vancouver. For weeks and weeks and weeks.

  3. thank you for reminding me i have a post on RAIN to do.
    i lose an umbrella ella ella every few months, so i'm not really allowed to have nice ones anymore. thought i lost our nicest BIG one at a bar on thurs, but thank goodness we know the owner who knows i dont need the hassle.