Monday, December 23, 2013

Rainy day umbrella-personality guide

On a rainy day in the city, there is nothing more fun to do then to don the rainboots, belt on the fabulous black trench raincoat, pop open the umbrella, and people watch while jumping into puddles.

One of the (many) things I promise to myself is to never ever own a black umbrella. A rainy day can be dreary as is, why carry your personal black cloud as you traipse around? It's like inviting the rain to stay a bit longer.

However I also keep losing my umbrellas and am currently on my third one this year! Currently I am slinging around a super tiny Tote light blue with dark navy polka dot umbrella and hoping that it greets the new year with me safely.

Walking around I noticed there is a variety of "umbrella-personalities" walking around. Sure you can't judge a book by it's cover but perhaps an umbrella can give you clues about the person underneath it. Here goes:

+ The Ginormous Golf Umbrella personality - you know the one I'm talking about: navigating tiny crowded sidewalks during holiday time with a waaaaay too big umbrella that forces pedestrians to play a game of dodge-umbrella or risked being poked in the eye even with the right-of-way. Such umbrella personalities tend to be middle-aged men with camel colored pea coat and look like they either have some money or at least like to play golf. Despite being a solo umbrella wielder, he seems to think he (or at least his aura) is quite big and needs its own space. Occasionally, but often not, the gargantuan umbrella may be shared with a really good looking lady.
Pros: withstanding hurricane level windgusts, looking really cool, calling dibs on everyone else's personal space without saying a word, great for sharing
Cons: heavy, takes up a lot of space due to lack of retraction, an investment (not recommended for those who keep losing their umbrellas)

+ The Really Tiny but Super Cute Umbrella personality - there is no way the chintzy, pastel colored retractable umbrella with imprinted flowers or adorable animals can actually withstand a slight gust of wind and usually it does not. So this results in a cartoony tug of war with the wind especially when blown inside out. This umbrella is usually carried by upbeat but impractical females who want a nice looking umbrella to match their outfits.
Pros: very totable and tiny, super cute, displays your personality
Cons: flimsy, impractical, useless

+ The Artsy I-Got-This-Umbrella-From-the-MOMA-Gift-Shop Umbrella personality - you've seen it in the museum gift shop and lusted after it but cannot justify $40 for an umbrella you will probably lose anyway. Really? $40? Even if it has iconic waterlily images on it that automatically identifies you as an high brow art lover who knows his Manet from Monet along with the history of the Impressionist movement in France (which Malcolm Gladwell tells a neat story about these underdogs in David and Goliath). It is usually carried by a patron of the arts who probably has a membership to the museum with the nifty 15% discount.
Pros: iconic, recognizable by like minded art enthusiasts. quality (or it better be for $40!)
Cons: expensive

+ The Deep Dome Clear Plastic Umbrella personality - this person both wants to see and be seen. Hiding coyly behind the clear covering the deep recess of the umbrella is quite nifty since it allows fuller coverage of the person beneath, almost like the helmet of an astronaut. This umbrella is usually toted by a cute Asian girl with any outfit, since clear is clearly the new black.
Pros: see through material allows for deeper coverage without bumping into inanimate objects
Cons: plastic oxidized and become brittle quicker then fabric so need for more frequent replacement, not retractable, bulky

+ The Black Umbrella personality - at the end of the day if it's raining cats and dogs and the generic black umbrella is the only option then beggars can't be choosers. Sure it demonstrates that you may have no personality, are super practical, and want to blend in with the hundreds of people around but how much can an umbrella actually say about you? Wouldn't people who want to know you (or at least bum umbrella space from you) want to talk to you to get to know you?
Pros: ubiquitous, fit right in, easy to coordinate outfit with especially for New Yorkers
Cons: prosaic, generic, yawn