Wordwise 126 A2854

Umbrellas: urban weapons of mass destruction

  • 2014.10.10

Although I much prefer warm weather, the rainy days we have had recently have given me at least one reason to look forward to the winter: umbrellas will be off the streets for a few months.

Originally designed to protect us from the rain, the purpose of the umbrella has been largely perverted and it now often seems to be used by some as a weapon.
Umbrellas have become the nemesis of the urban pedestrian and cyclist that I am.
If you have ever almost lost an eye to an inconsiderate airhead opening his umbrella in your face on his way out of a store, you probably know what I mean.
But that’s not my only grievance, far from that.
If there is one type I despise above all others, it’s the people who deliberately wield their umbrellas like swords ahead of them to force their way through a rush hour crowd.
And don’t even get me started on those wannabe circus artists who try to ride their bicycles with an open umbrella.
It truly amazes me that there aren’t more accidents.
And umbrellas don’t have to be open to cause mass destruction.
I often see people swinging their umbrellas about as they walk, as if to mark off a zone of terror around them.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve been hit in the shin. Anyway, soon I’ll be able to walk around safely again.
In the meantime, until the winter settles in, let’s all get some inspiration from the people in Hong-Kong who have turned the umbrella into a symbol of peace and democracy.