Home > Humor/Satire > The Benefits of Umbrellas

The Benefits of Umbrellas


Actually, what I’m talking about is the disadvantage of not having an umbrella when you need one. I’m not a driveway-to-parking garage kind of person. I don’t have a car. I walk. And I somehow missed the forecast and left both of my umbrellas and a lovely rain coat…at work.

So I employed several strategies in the face of this morning’s steady rain.

♦ I tried to get it to stop raining. If I had known any rain dances, I would have done a reverse one, but regrettably, none of my Native-American friends have ever taught me any.

Then I had a brief, fruitless conversation with God. He and I have a complicated, occasionally humorous relationship, but I think he had other issues to deal with this morning, because he did absolutely nothing to even slow the pace of the rainfall, much less make it go away.

♦ I asked the concierge at the front desk of my apartment building if anyone had recently left an umbrella in the lost and found. “No, I’m sorry, Mr. Garcia- got nothing. We used to have complimentary umbrellas but nobody returned them.” The bastards, I thought to myself. Here, these selfish little yuppies take a perfectly good communal “complimentary umbrella” program and ruin the whole thing by stealing umbrellas. I’m sure they didn’t think of it as stealing, more like extended borrowing, but nonetheless, their actions over the years had now compounded my predicament.

♦ I tried to make an umbrella magically appear out of nowhere by returning to my apartment and wishing it to be so. This is somewhat similar to my earlier conversation with God only I was trying to conjure up my own, unassisted miracle. It was not totally irrational- sometimes, you know, you have stuff you don’t even realize hanging around in assorted closets. Not this morning.

♦ I pouted for a short period of time. “This would not be happening to me if I was still in New York,” I said quietly to the cats. “They sell umbrellas everywhere in Manhattan. The corner hot dog stand guy sells ‘em, for crying out loud.” There was a drug store like 100 feet from my apartment on the Upper West side; here in DC- forget it, it’s like a half a mile.

♦ I sucked it up, went out onto the street and as I am getting soaked, I’m thinking to myself, “This really isn’t so bad, it’s just a light rain. I’ve seen monsoons. This is nothing like a monsoon.” I duck under an awning at a closed Chinatown restaurant, see my reflection in a window and realize, no, I am really, really wet; my suit is wet and my hair is wet and I look like some kind of rat that snuck off some Liberian container ship at the Port of Baltimore.

♦ Suddenly my cell-phone rings. It’s the concierge. “Mr. Garcia, are you still near the building?” “Ha!” I’m thinking to myself- an umbrella has turned up! No. It just occurred to her that I could have asked her to call me a cab. Yeah, woulda, coulda, shoulda. “Thanks, but I’m too far down the road, buh bye.”

♦ I look enviously at every one else on the street with an umbrella. How could these people all be so well prepared? I start criticizing them in my head. “You know what? They’re all anal retentive. Keeping their little umbrellas stashed neatly by their front doors, probably in actual umbrella stands, next to their friggin’ galoshes.” This feeling is not unlike the time you forgot your #2 pencil and your school books in the 2nd grade and everyone else is prepared and you aren’t.

♦ I ran. This made progress quicker and I was surprised that my usually right bum knee was responding pretty well as I dashed across Massachusetts avenue. Home stretch- just a half a block to go. Puddles be damned! I’m soaked but I see the goal- I’m there! Immediate visit to the men’s room to try to make myself presentable.

♦ It was kind of an emotional reunion as I finally unlocked my office door and turned on the light. There were all my little friends. Primary black Umbrella #1. Principle Back-up, blue Umbrella #2. London Fog raincoat hanging on the back of the door. “Hi, umbrellas! Hi, raincoat…man, I missed you guys!”

Lesson learned. I will never be without an umbrella, a raincoat, or a #2 pencil, ever again. Ever.

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