Umbrella time

Today, as per usual Vancouver style, it was raining. But this wasn’t regular old drizzle – it was practically a downpour that came outta nowhere. The kind of rain that makes every body lose what little bit of common sense they may have possessed in the first place. As I was browsing the the toy dinosaur selection at the dollar store, a man rushed in off the street demanding to be sold an umbrella. I always want to remind people they are 100% waterproof. But I refrained from making my usual unwelcome remark. This guy was totally ridiculous. First, he stated that he had never used one of “these things” before. Then, he inquired as to how it worked. Ummmmm, I’m pretty sure you are supposed to open it and hold it over your head. He also asked what would happen if it got windy. Well, I’m terribly sorry to break the news, sir, but in the event of wind,  that precious umbrella-user relationship you have so carefully cultivated will quickly devolve. Where did this guy come from that doesn’t have wind, rain, or umbrellas? The moon? I  laughed at him as he struggled to open his newly purchased umbrella and I exited the store into the abating rain.

This encounter reminded me of the amazing podcast I was listening to earlier in the day: Episode 9 of The Steve and John Power Hour with Steve and John. Where Steve pitched the idea of a community umbrella program. Because even though this is Vancouver no one ever seems to be prepared for the inevitable. The umbrella program would work like this: The city would invest in tons of mid-range quality umbrellas and the umbrellas would be available to everyone at every store, restaurant, bus stop, whatever. You just pick it up and drop it off at whatever umbrella stand around the city. I was thinking of how great an idea that is and how we really need it. But it would put crummy dollar stores out of business. How tragic. And anyway, we already  have a complimentary umbrella system. It works like this: you can go to any coffee shop and tell them you lost your umbrella. If you are pressed just say it is black. There will be a black umbrella in the lost and found that they will give you. Or, for an alternative complimentary umbrella sharing system:  you forget your umbrella at a store or restaurant and the next time it’s raining an employee of the store or restaurant steals the umbrella because they forgot to bring theirs. I have worked in many retail establishments and I have purchased exactly one umbrella in my whole life; however, I have owned several. I am currently in possession of two umbrellas. Neither of which I paid for. And neither of which I ever remember to use. I just sigh and pull my hood up. Luckily, I am water-proof.

THE POINT IS:I bought this rad dinosaur at the dollar store. He is a Ceratosaurus named Teal. Score!

You can get caught up on all of The Steve and John Power Hour with Steve and John podcasts on i-tunes. Amazingly good if you happen to be in the 28-33 year old age range.

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2 Responses to Umbrella time

  1. danielle says:

    That dinosaur is definitely better than the man from the moon. Yes.

  2. James Ashcroft says:

    OMG! I’ve always harboured that same idea of community umbrella sharing! In the movie in my mind, it would often go something like this this:

    EXTERIOR: VANCOUVER. overcast day. establishing shots, Canada Place, Stanley Park, etc.
    Open on a dry sidewalk, James’s shoes in view as he strolls.
    cue rain. Large drops hit the ground, James’s shoes stop.
    Pan up. James with reusable coffee mug, worriedly looking at the sky. He holds out his hand to feel the rain.
    Rain increases, background performers with newspapers over head, running for cover, etc.
    JAMES POV: exterior independent coffee shop
    CLOSE ON JAMES: an idea starts to form behind his eyes
    INTERIOR: INDEPENDENT COFFEE SHOP. funky mismatched wooden tables and chairs. Funky, female, attractive, tattooed, purple-haired, nose ringed barista behind the counter.
    JAMES: Oh, hi!
    BARISTA GIRL: Hey.
    JAMES: Uhm, I was in here the other day, I think I might have left my umbrella here?
    BARISTA GIRL: What colour?
    JAMES: (nervously) Er, sorry?
    BARISTA GIRL: What colour is your umbrella?
    JAMES: Uhm, black? About this big? (indicates size with hands)
    BARISTA GIRL: (pause, knowing smile) Is it one of these?
    (She brings from behind the counter about a dozen black, fold up umbrellas)
    JAMES: Yeah . . . I think it’s, uhm, this one.
    BARISTA GIRL: Okay, here’s YOUR umbrella, sir. (she hands the umbrella toward James)
    JAMES: (nervous laugh) Heck, I’d forget my own head if it wasn’t screwed on tight. (he reaches for umbrella)
    (beat)
    (they are both holding on to the umbrella. their eyes lock. will she let go? will he?)
    JAMES: (con’t) er . . . (he flashes his trademark disarming, crooked smile)
    BARISTA GIRL: (grins inspite of herself. she knows the umbrella isn’t his, but can’t resist his innocent charm. she relents and releases the umbrella)
    JAMES: (inspects the umbrella in his hand, looks to the reusable mug in the other, looks back to BARISTA GIRL): Say, could I get an Americano?
    BARISTA GIRL: (laughs) Sure!
    (we pull back, as JAMES and BARISTA GIRL continue to talk)
    FADE.

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