rainy day obsession

I have only ever bought one umbrella in my entire adult life, and for some reason, I still have it. Considering it wasn’t free, it’s the worst umbrella ever. The button on the handle that you push to open the damn thing is super sensitive and also brings the umbrella down with just the tiniest amount of pressure. So when I’m running in the rain to or from my car balancing my computer bag on one shoulder and my purse on the other, inevitably I hit the button and my umbrella closes. Then I have to juggle what I’m carrying, and attempt to reopen the umbrella, (which isn’t easy either) while the rain pours down on me, making me angrier than a wet cat.

But I paid for that umbrella so I have to keep it.

In the past, umbrellas were just the type of thing that found their way into my hands. Many were “borrowed” and some were “found.” I believe in the karma of umbrellas. If you forget yours behind in a restaurant or on the train, the next time it’s raining, you will likewise find one for your use. I operated for years under this system until two years ago in a moment of desperation when I decided to buy an umbrella. Unfortunately for me, it just happens to be one which, as we have firmly established, I hate.

Now with the forecast in DC calling for rain levels that will hopefully dent our drought, I sigh with disgust as I look at the mean-spirited umbrella dangling by its cord around my closet doorknob. And I dream of a nice umbrella, one the is big enough to provide coverage for two people, if necessary. One that is memorable enough that I won’t leave it behind anywhere. One that will pair just as well with my high gloss black Hunter boots as it does with my cherry red trench coat (which sadly happens to be at the dry cleaner today).

Of course, I found the perfect umbrella, the appropriately named Unsurpassed Umbrella. But at a cost that is equivalent to a pair of shoes, I will only dream of wielding its awesomeness. Especially since I know that if I haven’t been able to lose the cheap umbrella with a severe functional flaw these last two years, I’m guaranteed to lose this one within a few times of using it.

And that would just piss me off more than being stuck in the rain with a closed umbrella on a good hair day.

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2 thoughts on “rainy day obsession”

  1. Speaking of umbrellas, your post put me in mind of a passage in a favorite story of mine by P.G. Wodehouse.

    From _Leave it to Psmith_,
    Chapter 3, “Eve Borrows an Umbrella”:

    What strikes the visitor to London most forcibly, as he enters the heart of that city’s fashionable shopping district, is the almost entire absence of ostentation in their shop-windows, the studied avoidance of garish display. About the front of the premises of Messrs. Thorpe & Briscoe, for instance, who sell coal in Dover Street, there is as a rule nothing whatever to attract fascinated attention. You might five the place a glance as you passed, but you would certainly not pause and stand staring at it as at the Sistine Chapel or the Taj Mahal. Yet at ten-thirty on the morning after Eve Halliday had taken tea with her friend Phyllis Jackson in West Kensington, Psmith, lounging gracefully in the smoking-room window of the Drones Club, which is immediately opposite the Thorpe & Briscoe establishment, had been gazing at it fixedly for a full five minutes. One would have said that the spectacle enthralled him. He seemed unable to take his eyes off it.
    There is always a reason for the most apparently inexplicable happenings. It is the practice of Thorpe (or Briscoe) during the months of summer to run out an awning over the shop. A quiet, genteel awning, of course, nothing to offend the eye—but an awning which offers a quite adequate protection against those sudden showers which are such a delightfully piquant feature of the English summer: one of which had just begun to sprinkle the West End of London with a good deal of heartiness and vigour. And under this awning, peering plaintively out at the rain, Eve Halliday, on her way to the Ada Clarkson Employment Bureau, had taken refuge. It was she who had so enchained Psmith’s interest. It was his considered opinion that she improved the Thorpe & Briscoe frontage by about ninety-five percent.
    Pleased and gratified as Psmith was to have something nice to look at out of the smoking-room window, he was also somewhat puzzled. This girl seemed to him to radiate an atmosphere of wealth. Starting at farthest south and proceeding northward, she began in a gleam of patent-leather shoes. Fawn stockings, obviously expensive, led up to a black crêpe frock. And then, just as the eye was beginning to feel that there could be nothing more, it was stunned by a supreme hat of soft, dull satin with a black bird of Paradise feather falling down over the left shoulder. Even to the masculine eye, which is notoriously to seek in these matters, a whale of a hat. And yet this sumptuously upholstered young woman had been marooned by a shower of rain beneath the awning of Messrs. Thorpe & Briscoe. Why, Psmith asked himself, was this? Even, he argued, if Charles the chauffeur had been given the day off or was driving her father the millionaire to the City to attend to his vast interests, she could surely afford cab fare? We, who are familiar with the state of Eve’s finances, can understand her inability to take cabs, but Psmith was frankly perplexed.
    Being, however, both ready-witted and chivalrous, he perceived that this was no time for idle speculation. His not to reason why; his obvious duty was to take steps to assist Beauty in distress. He left the window of the smoking-room, and, having made his way with a smooth dignity to the club’s cloak-room, proceeded to submit a row of umbrellas to a close inspection. He was not easy to satisfy. Two which he went so far as to pull out of the rack he returned with a shake of the head. Quite good umbrellas, but not fit for this special service. At length, however, he found a beauty, and a gentle smile flickered across is solemn face. He put up his monocle and gazed searchingly at this umbrella. It seemed to answer ever test. He was well pleased with it.
    “Whose,” he inquired of the attendant, “is this?”
    “Belongs to the Honourable Mr. Walderwick, sir.”
    “Ah!” said Psmith tolerantly.
    He tucked the umbrella under his arm and went out.

    Meanwhile, Eve Halliday, lightening up the somber austerity of Messrs. Thorpe & Briscoe’s shop-front, continued to think hard thoughts of the English climate and to inspect the sky in the hope of detecting a spot of blue. She was engaged in this cheerless occupation when at her side a voice spoke.
    “Excuse me!”
    A hatless young man was standing beside her, holding an umbrella. He was a striking-looking young man, very tall, very thin, and very well dressed. In his right eye there was a monocle, and through this he looked down at her with a grave friendliness. He said nothing further, but, taking her fingers, clasped them round the handle of the umbrella, which he had obligingly opened, and then with a courteous bow proceeded to dash with long strides across the road, disappearing through the doorway of a gloomy building which, from the number of men who had gone in and out during her vigil, she had set down as a club of some sort.
    A good many surprising things had happened to Eve since first she had come to live in London, but nothing quite so surprising as this. For several minutes, she stood where she was without moving, staring round-eyed at the building opposite. The episode was, however, apparently ended. The young man did not reappear. He did not even show himself at the window. The club had swallowed him up. And eventually Eve, deciding that this was not the sort of day on which to refuse umbrellas even if they dropped inexplicably from heaven, stepped out from under the awning, laughing helplessly, and started to resume her interrupted journey to Miss Clarkson’s.

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