Thursday, 3 September 2009

Umbrella Inventor: Bet he never got a spoke in his eye.

You can practically hear the violins.
I have a fairly relaxed attitude to umbrellas. For a start, I never buy them. I reckon they're the kind of transient, non-purchasable item that just gets passed on from stranger to stranger because they're nearly always left somewhere.

I used to feel sad for all the umbrellas I'd see abandoned in various doorways, coat racks and under seats on public transport. Until I realised that it's actually their destiny, and that being the most popular object in the world when the heavens decide to open must be pretty nice.

Thus, I have given in to the slightly amoral habit of stealing abandoned umbrellas. Only because I know that I'll abandon it somewhere and it will be picked up by another ethical thief. It's like a physical karma.

However, despite this habit of accumulating rain-protectors, I rarely use them. Normally it's because I don't like to carry a giant handbag containing objects for every eventuality, or because I cycle everywhere. Or so I thought until yesterday, when I realised EXACTLY why I don't carry umbrellas.

It's because they become near-lethal objects when any slight amount of wind power is involved. Holding umbrellas sideways, like a shield, completely defeats the point of them as your bonce gets increasingly soggy. Even such a compromising position, however, cannot prevent you from the Ultimate Umbrella Catastrophe: the turning inside out.

Wandering down Southwark Street at rush hour, U.U.C happened to my recently-claimed pink number. It was the saddest thing that happened all day. What had been so proud and shiny had turned into a mangled wire lump. I felt like I was working at the inanimate object version of the RSPB.

Pinkie stayed at home today. It's recovering, and I probably will continue to use it, albeit in a wonky state, once this violent memory has been repressed. It's just a little too much to deal with right now.
On the plus side, I have been cheered up by Andersen Ben-Hilliens Aarhus and his blog. I bet Jordan wouldn't tell him that she'd 'cut him up aswell'.


  1. I used to nag Adam that he needs an umbrella. Of course, he's another Brit who thinks that umbrellas exist for being lost :). Recently, after our trip through Asia I bought myself a hand made green umbrella, made of paper and painted (in order to make it impermeable). I saw it, I loved it (you know, love at first sight :))It was beautifully made of bamboo wood, tied up with strings (now your image and your text horrified me). I imagined myself walking around Prague looking "cool" with my Asian umbrella... Not anymore, I decided to keep it somewhere in the house... as a souvenir. Now I am in Moldova, it's raining cats and dogs and I have no proper jacket and guess what? NO UMBRELLA!!! (I really have a special relationship with my umbrellas). I am happy you had an entry to glorify the existence of such indispensable accessories. And next time you go to Moldova (or anywhere else, especially the UK or the Netherlands- GET A BLOODY UMBRELLA).

  2. Petru!
    Absolutely gorgeous to hear from you. This umbrella sounds far too nice to have to deal with the battles of British weather.
    I intend to use my pink one until it dies completely, after which I shall deposit it somewhere and find another that's been lost...!