Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Umbrellas, umbrellas everywhere

I woke up this morning to the sound of rain splattering against my bedroom window and immediately thought to myself, "It's raining again." I rolled over and tried to go back to sleep, however the unavoidable trip to work sat in the back of my mind preventing me from going back to dream land. I grudgingly made my way to the bathroom and took a shower which helped my mood somewhat. Things improved even more after the weather man said the showers would soon fade away and the sky would clearing presenting us with sunshine this afternoon. I have to admit a smile appeared on my face as I began whistling on my way to pick out a freshly cleaned and ironed short sleeved shirt, which would be perfect for an afternoon lunch in the common. After getting dressed, I finished off a small glass of slightly tart cranberry juice before grabbing a rain coat from my closet. As I reached for my coat I noticed an umbrella resting on the shelf and thought about bringing it to help me stay dry in the downpour, but something told me to leave it and I did. Once the closet door was closed I grabbed my keys, wallet and bag, before venturing out into the deluge.

As I ran to the car the rain came down upon me with a fury only seen deep within the center of a hurricane. I jumped into the car and shook off, even though I had only run thirty feet my jacket was completely soaked and I kept thinking, "Why did I leave the umbrella in the closet?" My car was dry except for the occasional dripping from the top of my driver's side door, but it is an ongoing problem I have become accustomed to especially after the past soggy spring. The drive to the train station proved to be interesting since several puddles were so large you were forced to either swerve into the other lane or plow through the deep water. I had considered parking in the free parking next to the warning signs saying,"In severe high tides this area may flood", but considering the rain and the long walk involved I decided to pay the two dollars to park in the nearly full commuter lot. I pulled into one of the last non water filled spaces and prepared myself again for the now slightly lighter rain. I locked the car and then glanced down at the parking space number and proceeded to repeat it to myself over and over again. 272 - 272 - 272.

I made it to the payment boxes and was almost had my eye poked out by a woman's umbrella. After my near miss, I glanced up at the payment boxes only to find a giant cluster of umbrellas in all colors and sizes. In my mind I knew I had to make my way through the rain forest of wood and steel with my folded dollar bills and find slot 2-7-3, no 2-7-4. I had become distracted by all the umbrellas and forgotten my space number, if I could only remember the simple three digit number. In a desparate attempt to figure it out I looked towards my car and realized despite my 20/15 vision I wasn't going to be able to figure out the number. I thought to myself, "What am I going to do, what am I going to do...272, 272." I remembered the space via a rhyme and made my way to the center of the umbrellas and placed the payment in the slot numbered 272.

I narrowly escaped with both eyes still intact, but did have my hat slightly dislodged by a short woman's umbrella, she apologized and I went straight for my daily Metro newspaper. The rain was begin to lighten up even more as I went down to the platform where another cluster of umbrellas had all formed causing the line for the train to look twice as long as usual. I navigated through the field of little domes and stood under a structure resembling a camping lean to. I think it would have been drier standing outside, but I wanted to avoid the umbrellas at all costs. The train soon arrived and I was forced to move back towards the mass of umbrella people. They began moving around and preparing themselves for the brief moment when rain would actually have to touch them. As the train moved closer the deforestation began as one by one the umbrellas were closed and withdrawn into the crowd. Everybody was so cautious and tried to be courteous, however as we all know while closing an umbrella is difficult keeping the people around you from getting soaked by the run off is an even more challenging task. Many people around me failed and tried to apologize for their carelessness, I just shrugged it off and focused on getting on the train. I made it on the muggy train and took a seat next to a couple of girls who were kind enough to let me sit on the end. I glanced over at the guy next to me as he finished struggling with his wet umbrella and stuffed it under his seat. He was certain to forget it and then someday when really caught in a rainstorm without the option of a rain coat he would wonder where in the world did I leave my umbrella. At that moment a smile once again appeared on my face because I realized why I let my umbrella stay on the shelf in the closet.

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