Thursday, July 24, 2008

Comment on Umbrellas

On especially rainy days, it is clear that navigating the narrow streets of Manhattan will endow in the individual nimble footedness, a lithe body and a gymnasts outlook to mundane tasks like walking to work. OK, what am I talking about here? Well, there is a growing band of individuals using umbrellas that are as large as city blocks and insist on walking down the street as if they were the only ones using the narrow canyons of this city. Add to that a million vendors, newspaper hawkers, pooch walkers, baby strollers, placard carrying vagrants and the dazed office worker trying to thread their way to work and you have a recipe for gouged eyes, scratched foreheads and blistered elbows as one tries and steer clear of these coliseum sized appendages that people insist on holding above their pea sized heads. In a classic scene I saw the other day, a short balding man gets out of a taxicab and starts to unfurl what looked like some kind of a gondola attached to a metal rod that seemed to envelope the whole taxi cab in a black protective sheath. The driver looks up to collect his fare and does not seem to initially notice the geodesic tenting blossoming above the cab. He mutters to the passenger that the sky has turned really dark all of a sudden only to realize that it is an umbrella unfurled by his bald rider in the back seat. Even worse are the egregious old ladies that seem to have these large than life hemispherical monstrosities floating above their heads that they seem to balance on one hand while walking their designer poodles down the busy sidewalks in the morning and glaring at confused individuals trying to decide on the best course of action on being confronted by a strange combination of a miniscule snapping dog on the ground and an ambulating black dome in the air. All told, it indeed is interesting to walk the wet streets of Manhattan during a quick shower noticing specimens of our kind try and wend their way through the streets using symbols above their heads that seem to drive home the ‘I am an island and no one can disturb me – I do what I want and you can @#$% off’ attitude all over their deadpan faces.

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