Monday, March 15, 2010
When the rain is coming down in torrents and the wind is stirring up everything in sight, then the conditions are right, as they have been in the last day or two here in New York City, for an umbrella graveyard. I am referring, of course, to the sidewalks of New York when they are strewn with the sorry remnants of broken, disabled, shattered umbrellas. You know how it is when it seems that everywhere you turn, you see used up umbrellas tossed into garbage cans or just plain surrendered to the side of the road. Thrown up against subway walls at rakish angles or completely flattened as if all the life has been squeezed out of them, these umbrellas have simply stopped operating as useful devices for keeping the moisture off your face and clothing. And there is nothing quite as useless or unsatisfying as an umbrella that has expired. I guess that's what makes the umbrella graveyard such a sad and discouraging sight. Those snapped off canes and splintered umbrella ribs, those ripped canvases and jammed spring action handles, all abandoned in heaps ready to be carted away, but for now so mangled, so untidy, so unwieldy. We all wait patiently for the city to be restored to its former order where cigarette butts roam free and yesterday's newspapers embrace fire hydrants but umbrellas are seen properly and only occasionally atop people's heads.