Last week I complained that there’s rain in the forecast during the week, but it only rains on the weekends. Well this week there was rain in the forecast for yesterday (and it rained), and there’s rain in the forecast for tomorrow (and I’m sure it will rain).

Because yesterday was such a rainy day, I encountered the usual rainy day inconveniences: My coat was soggy because I have a tiny umbrella (but my feet were not soggy because I finally got legitimate use out of my rain boots). The VRE was slow because the track was wet and/or slick. The metro was delayed, because it, too, is incapable of handling the rain. Metro stations were damp, which creates a severely unpleasant smell. The list could go on, but I’m never one to complain…

Anyhow, I never thought that the most trouble I would experience on a rainy day would be caused by the rainy day essential: the umbrella.

It started with an innocent laugh at the expense of a person on Virginia Ave. SW, near L’Enfant. I saw her from my cozy seat inside the train when it stopped at the L’Enfant station. Fortunately, it always takes a longer stop there so I got to witness a truly enjoyable morning debacle.

The woman was carrying a golf umbrella – really large and rounded on top. Her coat was definitely not getting soggy and I was a tiny bit jealous of her – until she got to the door of the office building she was so eagerly trying to enter. There was no awning over the doorway, so when she took her umbrella down to collapse it I knew she wanted to do it as quickly as possible and scoot inside for shelter.

As she was shaking it off and trying to collapse it, it turned inside out. I had a good laugh at this primarily because there was very little wind yesterday morning, so such a thing could only be explained by bad luck. Or karma. Even though I couldn’t see the anger on her face from where I was sitting, I could tell that her frustration was mounting, because she started to throw the umbrella to the ground only to pick it up and shake it off again.

56534_rihannaumbrellaThis repeated a few times – this small woman standing on the steps of her workplace, on the side of a busy street during morning rush hour, having a fight with an umbrella that was almost larger than her. At one point, in the height of her fury, she threw the umbrella to the ground, kicked it, then turned and stomped angrily into the building, leaving the disheveled, broken umbrella behind.

But she immediately came back out and started all over again. Eventually a nice woman stopped on her way in the building and tried to help tame the wild umbrella. Unfortunately, I never saw the end to this story because the train pulled away.  I like to imagine it went something like, “And they lived happily ever after.”

The umbrella saga continued as I walked through Union Station on my way to the metro. As I was quickly approaching a man walking far too slowly in front of me, I felt something hit my knee. Of course when I looked down I was not surprised to see it was his umbrella – another unnecessarily large one.

Although it was closed, he was holding it parallel to the ground. That’s right. He may as well have been walking with his arms extended straight out from side to side and kicking his legs out in front of him with every step he took. He was a walking hazard. My knees weren’t too badly injured, but I felt bad for any small child that came up too close behind him that day. I wanted to say to him, “You’re gonna take somebody’s eye out with that thing,” but I thought it might be too early for constructive criticism from a stranger.

His wasn’t the only gigantic umbrella I ran into in Union Station. On my waypatchesohoulihan home I had to run toward the Manassas track because I left work late. I had the wisdom of Patches O’Houlihan (of “Dodgeball” fame) and his 5 D’s running through my head: “Dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge. Dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge.”

And that’s what I was doing until I ran into yet another huge umbrella held parallel to the ground by an unassuming older man. He was walking across the stream of traffic (think Frogger) at no more than a quarter of the speed everyone else was going. You took physics, you do the math.

He cleared my path but the umbrella’s tail end (the one with a point, not a handle) did not. It smacked me in the thigh and I let out an audible grunt of disgust as I looked over my shoulder to see if he was cursing me too. Indeed, he was.

It appeared, as I continued to run for my train, that when I hit the point of the umbrella, its handle hit him with equal or greater force. I mouthed a little “Eeek I’m sorry!” before I turned back around to re-focus my attention on catching the train.

I will not recount all the problems I had with umbrellas on the metro escalators, I will merely say that it did not look like this:

escalator-umbrellaI love this photo and it was published in the Washington Post the day of the giant snow storm earlier this month (or last month?). Anyway – when it was raining yesterday and I had my umbrella out while hiking the escalator out of Dupont metro, I ran into many issues while passing other people using umbrellas. Use your imagination. It was messy.