Thursday, August 27, 2009


You can tell a lot about a person by the umbrella they use.

For example, there’s a smallish gray-haired woman standing outside the train below me right now and she’s holding an umbrella that looks like a giant sunflower. We could assume she has a relatively sunny disposition about life and/or she’s a gardener.

Of course there are folks who don’t pay attention to these things and perhaps that umbrella was a gift, in which case she could be a crazy bitch from hell who would happily stab you in the forehead with her cheerful yellow parasol.

You decide.
You see a lot of ginormous corporate golf umbrellas on rainy mornings in the Loop.

They’re pretty much portable patio-type umbrellas that could easily keep dry a family of four, two dogs, and one cranky aunt. They take up the entire sidewalk - these umbrellas from UBS and Northwestern University and Bank of America – typically protecting white-haired, unsmiling men who are completely oblivious to the wide swath they cut. This is how I see them in the office – powerful, yet profoundly unhappy guys, completely unaware of their impact on the world and only concerned with keeping themselves warm and dry.

Oh, here comes a guy right now under a giant Deutsche Bank umbrella. Deutsche Bank always makes me think Douche Bag for some reason.

Moving on, there are leopard print umbrellas and ladybug umbrellas and bright pink umbrellas - all cheerful anachronisms in this otherwise gloomy day. These small, fashionable parasol-type umbrellas are usually carried by small, fashionable women – both of which are completely fucking worthless in brutal Chicago weather.

There are the classic wood-handled umbrellas in various colors. People under these are more smiley than usual.

There was a woman carrying a red umbrella with a small plastic ketchup bottle on top right where the point would be on a regular umbrella – I’m assuming it was a promotional giveaway for Heinz or one of those other inferior brands but didn’t see the logo.

Of course, most people use small black umbrellas. They are anonymous, cheap, and temporary yet functional.
Met Susan for a birthday lunch today and she has a fantastic umbrella with fashionable French ladies on it. She says it reminds her of her time in Paris.

Very cool.
1 they huddled under the umbrella parasol, sunshade.
2 the groups worked under the umbrella of the Communist Party aegis, auspices, patronage, protection, guardianship, support, backing, agency, guidance, care, charge, responsibility, cover.

(Apple Thesaurus)
In French, umbrella is parapluie. It’s pronounced just like it looks. This makes me inexplicably happy.
para- 2 |ˈparə|
combining form
denoting something that protects or wards off : parachute | parasol.

(Apple Dictionary)
Parasol = protects + sun
Parapluie = protects + rain
Just saw a HUGE man carrying a small black umbrella covered with pink breast cancer ribbons.
In the 90's, when I lived in my all-time favorite apartment in Geneva, I’d babysit the kids across the street once in a while.

The mother was Susan. The father was Scott. They are probably divorced now, mostly because they didn’t seem all that happy ever and also because Scott hit on me one night when his wife was at class getting another degree that she probably wouldn’t use.


Their oldest daughter – Mariah, who was rather bratty due to lack of parental attention – called them rainbrellas.

This is another thing that makes me inexplicably happy.
What kind of umbrella do YOU use, Hedy?

It’s pretty much as you’d expect: A real, classic-sized umbrella. Not huge. Not tiny. Sturdy. Black. With a large silverish hook for a handle. Heavy canvas material. And literary quotes in soft gray text all over it.

To be or not to be. Call me Ishmael. Oz, the Great and Terrible. You get the picture.

If I were Oprah, it would be one of my very Favorite Things.

What does my umbrella say about me? I’m sturdy. Thinky. Perhaps a little pretentious at times but chubby-cute to compensate for it. And I like things that last.


It could say that I was caught in a veritable downpour last summer prior to lunch with a friend and popped into the only store – a Barnes & Noble – on the off chance they’d have an umbrella.

You decide.
I am listening to: KT Tunstall – Suddenly I See
I am reading: Twilight book 1
And I am: Soaked from the knees down


Anonymous said...

Umbrellas... what a fantastic tool... ah but for the want of thumbs...
A Dog's Live

Hedy said...

And of course who can forget:

Parachute: Protects + gravity/dirt

Dave said...

Love the "I am" a truism no matter what brella you have.

I have three, I think. One of your logo ones, from the Masters - it's in my golf bag. I've used it maybe two or three times. It pisses me off a bit because given its white and light green scheme, it has rusty deposits on it.

I have a tan Tote that has a broken support that is in the little thing place in the driver's door of the car.

I'm pretty sure I have a black Tote somewhere; if I get bored enough, I'll go find it.

So, Totes wouldn't get it in the Windy City?

molly gras said...

I have quite a few as well (some inherited from a post-swim season lost and found clean up session at the swim club) but my all-time cherished 'brella would be the cheap-y royal blue and white striped number that I bought for 10 Euros one particularly damp day during our vacation in France. And because I forgot it there, I begged my mother-in-law to bring it back with her when she returned home a week later! I still guard that 'brella carefully!

Posol'stvo the Medved said...

I think as much about umbrellas as I do about hammers. Both merely tools to get a job done rather than an opportunity to make a personal statement.

Of course, my hammer has literary quotes all over it.