We have experienced an unusual amount of rain in the last couple of weeks across the country. Many of you have lost your homes to these storms, while others have had lost loved ones. I pray that each day life gets easier for you who have suffered such great loss.
In light of these tragedies, my topic today seems quite insignificant yet I have been compelled to write about it each day I leave my home and face my fellow sidewalk citizens in everything from a light sprinkle to a downpour–rain and umbrella etiquette.
I live in a city where there are more people per sidewalk inch than anywhere else in the U.S. Most days I wish to simply teleport to my destination and home again so I do not have to fight the masses. This wish is particularly true when it is raining. I have observed four different types of humans while walking in the rain. Which one might you be?
First there is the “I am very important and very impatient” person. He cannot stay with the pace of the others who are also walking to a destination (or else they would be tucked away somewhere dry). He has very important places to be and the slow, elderly woman in front of him is ruining his day so he surely must pass her while knocking out three oncoming humans with his shoulder, pace and umbrella. His world will certainly end if he doesn’t get past all of these slow people around him. If only he could see the value in not disrupting another person’s day with the eye poke from his umbrella, or the fear they will have when they see him coming quickly towards them with his umbrella tilted forward as if he were a charging bull. Stay with the pace, sir, listen to the sounds of the rain, the city. You just may be amused with what you hear.
The “only human on the planet”, the second of these humans, always makes me smirk and occasionally laugh out loud. She doesn’t notice anyone or anything around her. She walks in the middle of the sidewalk and is indignant when you don’t move to accommodate her. She closes her umbrella and shakes the rain off of it, never once recognizing that she just gave you a bath. She pushes through crowds knocking over those in her way. She occasionally likes to talk on her phone while walking quickly in the center of the sidewalk while dangling her umbrella over her shoulder. When it falls off her shoulder and catches the handle of your bag, it clearly is your fault for being too close to her. I am not sure there is any hope for her. I am not sure I have any advice for her except perhaps to hire a driver. She will never learn.
Thirdly, is the “ginormous beach/golf course” umbrella carrier. His vessel of choice could be used to keep a small nation dry and has no place in the city. Period. End of discussion.
Finally, there is the single file walker who is very aware of her surroundings and lifts the umbrella when the oncoming person is at eye level with the umbrella tips. I love her. She is orderly and considerate. Something each of us (myself included) could use a healthy dose of now and then. She steps to the side where others are not going to be impacted by her umbrella shake prior to entering her destination. If no such place exists, she discreetly closes her protector and tucks it away neatly to be dealt with later where she will not give someone the second shower of the day. She stays with the pace of the people around her and does not shoulder check nor bag check those coming in the opposite direction. She is Mary Poppins–practically perfect in every way.
Again I ask, which of these species are you? Next time you find yourself in a crowd with rain, think about your umbrella behavior. With the right choices, you may be lifting a dark, dreary day for a total stranger. Isn’t that lovely?
Be good to one another.
Tags: etiquette, Just Amy, Manners
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