|May 11, 2012||Posted by Rosie Watterson under satire|
I was trudging home one rainy afternoon, pondering the wretchedness of my being, when I was smacked in the face with an umbrella. For a split second I imagined grabbing the umbrella and stuffing it up… actually, never mind. Safe to say I was somewhat overwhelmed by my anger, and after thinking about it I realised that umbrellas annoy me. No, more than annoy: enrage, inflame, infuriate – you get the picture. So, in my usual manner, I’m now going to list the aspects of umbrella usage that drive me mad. Hopefully the anger will then be out of my system.
Who, in their right mind, created a device that explodes outwards with metal spikes at eye level? In fact, I’m going to look it up; I must know this idiot. Eye-level spikes would be acceptable if my eyes were far, far away – by all means use umbrellas elsewhere in the country, or indeed in another country, but don’t use them on the cobbled streets of York. Umbrellas effectively protect your personal space, in the same way as a pit bull terrier or a barbed wire sombrero, which seems like a good thing; no one wants an overly friendly stranger or a sticky child touching them. But sometimes personal space needs to be violated, such as when I’m crossing the road and you haven’t noticed the light. Or when you’re loitering in a doorway and, if you hadn’t noticed, it’s chucking it down.
The age-old lesson of watching where you’re going apparently doesn’t apply when in ownership of an umbrella. I was nearly skewered this afternoon because a girl had her umbrella down in front of her. Why, I have no idea, but I had an almost uncontrollable urge to grab the nearest umbrella and joust her right there in the street. Sadly, social etiquette denied me this delight, which brings me to my next point.
Umbrellas are a brilliant way to draw my attention to your irritating blundering. If you want me to yell, “Would you get out the way?” or, more likely, “Excuse me!” in an icy British tone, then please, wander aimlessly with an umbrella. Though tourists oscillating exactly where I wish to be is annoying, it can usually be easily fixed – unless they have an umbrella. Not only can you not hear my bitter words, but I can’t get close enough to make you uncomfortable and thus move out of my way.
Umbrellas are hazardous not only to eyes, but also to hair. I was walking through town with a friend whose hair was long and curly. Before I knew what was going on, he had made a 180-degree turn and was walking off. Somewhat rebuffed, I followed, only to find his hair was snared on a stranger’s umbrella; he had little choice but to follow the person for some distance, desperately pleading with them to stop so he could untangle his hair. Of course, owing to the umbrella they couldn’t hear him.
I also find the expression people pull when shaking their umbrella in doorways annoying, though admittedly I have now started looking out for it. Usually, the umbrella-shaker looks a combination of harassed and confused. Harassment is totally reasonable – it is raining – but confused? Of course your umbrella is wet – it’s raining! Waterproof does not mean it’s going to remain dry.
Having an umbrella is like being clinically obese. Don’t take this the wrong way, I’m not against obese people: I’m simply pointing out that the York city centre was not designed to accommodate hundreds of overweight individuals. With this in mind, it seems absurd to assume that we do, however, have enough room for hundreds of umbrellas, each of which increases the space consumption of their owner by approximately a foot all the way round.
So next time you see me in the rain without an umbrella, don’t look at me as though I’m reckless, as though I’m ditsy for forgetting it; it’s a well thought out decision. I simply do not wish for the inconvenience. And besides, skin is waterproof and clothes can dry – eyes, however, do not grow back.