Thursday, October 26, 2006

Caught with my umbrella down

I admit it. I have a fault. I know, I know. Be still your beating hearts and all that jazz. You thought I was perfect. Oh, and those of you who know me for real, you can stop snickering now, especially you (you know who you are!). Actually, I have two faults. I do not like to be caught unprepared, and I have a low tolerance threshold for stupidity, ignorance and shallow conversation (does that one count as three faults? I mean, it's not like they're mutually exclusive or anything, and often go hand-in-hand!). For this entry, I'm only going to address the former, as the latter is no less deserving of its own entry, and actually, if I were to combine them, I have a feeling that I'd somehow manage to incriminate myself in a really outstanding way...

When I say that I don't like to be caught unprepared, it means that I don't like surprises. And when I say that I don't like surprises, I mean that I'm actually quite anal about it. Take the weather in Israel, for instance. Once autumn hits, I begin my assessment of the local umbrella situation. I have two – one small red one that fits in my bag quite neatly, and one large stripey, purply one that does not. As soon as there's a mere hint of rain in the air, the little umbrella goes into the bag, and stays there for the duration of the season. The large umbrella is kept by the door, saved for occasions when a forecast of rain is actually announced, at which point the little umbrella is taken out of the bag, shunted aside for one with more firepower. You see, the little one, while being extremely convenient due to its size, is also rather ineffective, due, strangely enough, to the same reason. Given my fifteen minute walk between the train station and my office, the thought of being caught without an umbrella when it rains sends me into a bit of a tailspin. Quite sad, really, but absolutely true. As such, the small one is for emergencies, so that I will always be prepared for unexpected rain shower.

Then there's the second umbrella. Having tragically taken the lives of two attractive, but clearly lesser quality umbrellas last year, both at the same location (crossing over a busy road leading over a highway that lies between two tall buildings, effectively creating a massive wind tunnel), I finally came to my senses. I walked into a store, prepared to pay whatever it took for strength, quality and peace of mind. I walked straight up to the counter and asked for the strongest umbrella they had (which, fortunately, was also quite attractive, for there's no reason to sacrifice aesthetics for quality, is there?). One tidy sum later, and I was testing my new purchase, which indeed proved itself to be quite strong, if not somewhat inconvenient.

"The bigger they are, the harder they fall," would seem like an appropriate sentiment, as the new umbrella, while triumphantly standing up to even the nastiest of winds, was rather unwieldy, to put it mildly. I became unnecessarily dependent upon the words of our meteorologists, lest I be unprepared when the storms hit. And therein lies the crux of the problem. These folks can't be trusted! For the last two days, I dragged my industrial-strength umbrella to and from work, working on the assumption that it was going to rain. Have you ever tried walking while carrying a large umbrella, a jacket slung over your arm, one laptop in what must be the biggest, bulkiest laptop shoulder bag ever created by man, and a large latté, which you struggle to raise to your lips intermittently, taking careful sips while trying not to spill, as a few drops inevitably manage to escape somehow? Not easy. Let me tell you. If I wasn't so talented, I'm not sure I could pull it off. But did it rain? Of course not! It threatened to, and there were even a few big fat drops of rain on my window yesterday afternoon, but certainly nothing that warranted my drastic umbrella measures. Once again, they got it wrong, and once again, I tripped my up and down the street so that I would be prepared. I think that I would probably be more successful at predicting their success rate than they are at predicting the weather. Then again, I imagine that I will continue to take them at their word, lest I be caught unprepared with my umbrella down.

4 comments:

Beth said...

Umbrellas always seem like such a great idea, until they get blown around and you get even more wet! And don't even get me started with executives and their massive golf umbrellas. All I'm going to say is that Grafton Street is not a golf course!!

Arik said...

you know who you are! - I am still ROFL ... :)

Hilarious... you described a very vivid picture of your daily route to work. But what could have been even funnier is a situation in which it would start to rain while you were sipping your daily morning latte with all your baggage packed in place... I am not sure that is what you wished for when it did not rain.

By the way - it really poured where I live on Thursday and on Wednesday...

Anonymous said...

This is a witty piece, and makes semi-anal people like me empathetic. But, somewhere along the way my pity for you got replaced by severe jealousy, that you have access to a large latte, apparently in a to-go cup. Lucky lady.

Liza said...

Beth: Of course, you do realize that bitching to me instead of the executives isn't going to help, right? ;-)

Arik: What makes you think that hasn't happened? Pouring rain and nasty winds, with me suddenly having to pop open my umbrella while holding onto that luxuriously warm cup, trying not to spill while the strap from my bag starts to slide down my arm. Quite a picture, eh?

Jessica Brogan: Israel is very much a coffee culture. You can get it everywhere - I can even grab a latte in most gas stations here! Within a ten-minute walk from my office, I can choose from more than 15-20 places that serve a good latte, whether it be cafes or coffee bars, and nearly every place offers take away. I honestly don't know what I'd do if it wasn't so incredibly accessible!