Well this morning when I woke up, it was raining yet again. It wasn’t quite the downpour where the raindrops sound like small projectiles bashing against your bedroom window, but more like that fine mist which hangs in the air. This is the rain I like to call ‘Spittle Rain’. It is the specie of rain which is not a drama if you’re just going 2 minutes to the corner store (more hassle to bring an umbrella than to use one); yet if you’re walking 12 minutes from the Tube station to your office, you will probably end up smelling a bit like a dog that has been left out in the back garden a little too long.
This is when your umbrella becomes all important. It is your protection against the elements and possibly the rest of the humanity who co-habitate the barely-protected sidewalks of London streets: the real Peak-Hours they don’t warn you about. Everyone and their umbrellas are next to you, whizzing past you, and trudging off to work same as you, under spittle rain and often without a care that their umbrellas very nearly take your eye out.
This is the moment you have to learn Umbrella Politics.
It is there the instant you open your umbrella on a crowded London street where there are 3,000 other commuters trying to pretend they are not desperately unhappy with yet another day of rain (for 30% of their daily life). Not exactly the best crash landing back into my weekday reality after a vj gig in Italy last weekend. But as fate would have it, I was using the slickest coolest prettiest umbrella – the genius kind which folds away into a lightweight 6 inches yet opens up a sturdy wind-proof umbrella. It weighs less than my iPhone. So I guess the Italians know how to make it right, it is The Ferrari of Umbrellas. It was keeping me absolutely dry without the fumbling known to all who who require wind-proof titanium umbrellas in this city, but just don’t know it yet. It is in these moments of feeling absolutely safe in your umbrella space that you can stop and reflect on the finer points of Umbrella Politics in London.
The Tall Staunch Man with a black umbrella is the perfect gentleman– he stretches his umbrella upwards as he avoids eye trauma to befall the oblivious men and women rushing past him with their umbrellas:
Oblivious Woman keeps her umbrella close to her salon-perfect head, while Oblivious Man has his enormous umbrella cocked to one side as he protects no one and nothing, other than the cellphone married to his ear.
I see a Short Stocky Woman with her umbrella pointed forward with the edges cracked and the spine bent, it seeming more like a weapon than a rain prophylactic…what umbrella tragedy happened to her I mused for her to be so evil with that thing?
Then there’s The Lost-looking Tourist, still wondering why he chose London while struggling with maps and cameras and desperately trying not to invade people’s space with his shoddy travel umbrella. All the signs are there for him not to use his old travel agent ever again – (Duhh… the ‘Cheapish Tours’ logo on the flimsy umbrella should have been a dead giveaway).
And just like that I was in my office. The day was about to truly start, with new lessons learned. The moral of the story, boys and girls of any age: should you have made the choice to live in England, Peru, Mawsynram, Kauai, or the Rain Forest or anywhere where precipitation is part of your daily life:
Don’t scrimp on The Umbrella. It can save your health, your life and even your mindset…
Oh and if you don’t care to ask me what the real-life brand is of my ‘Ferrari of umbrellas’, check this cool list and below are some we prepared for you earlier. Pan– the other half of Alternate Reality is a master finder of all things crazy to keep you sane:
The Umbrella for “The True London Warrior”
“Ok, Enough Already!” Umbrella
Figured out your politics? Got a wicked umbrella to share?