Friday, June 5, 2009

Abandoned Umbrellas

One of my favorite things about New York is the umbrella culture. "New York black" applies to more than just clothing, and shoes. Black umbrellas with the occasional splash of color make-up the moving roof over the busy sidewalks. Everyone seems to have one, and if they don't its pretty easy to find a street vendor with an egg crate full of cheap umbrellas. 

I was enjoying what little protection my umbrella provided while waiting for the bus on 5th Ave, pregnant bellies of already big girls are going to get wet, when a strong gust of wind did its best to turn my umbrella inside out. I heard a giggle from the other side of my still intact umbrella, so I raised my umbrella to see who had noticed my scramble to keep my umbrella intact, when I saw a girl trying to flip her umbrella back into normal position. Turned out I was the lucky one, and she was laughing at her own misfortune. The thing about the wind in New York is it changes directions based on what part of the block you are one, and its not always predictable when you need to angle your umbrella to avoid that flip, so inside out umbrellas are a common sight. 

The garbage cans on the street corners are filled with the skeletons of uncorrectable umbrellas, abandoned by soon-to-be wet pedestrians. When I get stuck in the rain without an umbrella I am often tempted to salvage one of them, in hopes that my umbrella opinions are not as severe as the wet walkers, who probably had 5 dollars to give to the next umbrella seller they saw. I've yet to rescue an abandoned umbrella, because deep down I know they were abandoned for a reason, although most New Yorkers favor functionality over frugality.


Sandy M. said...

Haha, I love your story - very evocative! Isn't 'giggle' a wonderful word?!
If we were there we would give you a bright hot pink/fire engine red/canary yellow type umbrella for Christmas :)

Tammy Lorna said...

I think it's cool you get to live in a place that HAS a whole umbrella culture :)

I don't bother with an umbrella these days, because I drive everywhere, and I can never be bothered putting up an umbrella for the 20sec dash from my car to the door of wherever I'm going.

Besides, if it's raining, I always wear my hair curly - that why it doesn't bother me to much if I get a bit wet :)

I love the rain!

xo Tammy

emilysuze said...

I love how you wrote this post about umbrellas!

Heidi said...

B, nice summary of wet days of which I will soon join in on the fun... :) I really enjoy your descriptions of life there AND what wonderful thoughts from you and your cute son. Way to be a creative mom for a 3-yr old!

charrette said...

Great writing! I love the umbrella culture. the skeletons. And the giggles.