Hardly anyone in Halifax uses an umbrella. I noticed this right away when I got here, since it was raining. People kind of bend their heads into the rain, stoic as cows. Almost everyone wears a hat of some kind or other, though. I asked my landlady why nobody uses an umbrella and she said “it rains sideways, so an umbrella won’t help.”
I brought two umbrellas up North with me, a little wee lavender job that fits in my purse and a big black English ‘walking umbrella’ with flowers sewn around the edge for when I want to bring out my inner Mary Poppins. Today, I was running a bit late, and I couldn’t find the big one. It had been on the bedpost, as a handy weapon, but it kept getting in my way so I banished it somewhere. The wee lavender one was in my purse already, so I went with that.
I don’t really like the collapsible umbrellas, I feel like Charlie Chaplin when I walk with one, because of my height. I mean, from elbow to hand is parallel to your body, while shoulder to arm is straight out. It isn’t comfortable and it looks silly. One more reason to dislike them, I discovered today, is that they’re not very strong. I don’t think it was so much a matter of the rain moving sideways today as the wind gusting in different directions. It did blow my brolly inside out once, but I was able to snap it back. After a while, though, I gave it up and tucked it back into my purse.
As I was walking along, I was able to raise my head enough to see a couple of trash cans with broken umbrellas in them. This picture is not one of them. It was raining too damn hard for me to want to stop and take a picture.
Now I have lived in windy cities before. Boston’s weird buildings create wicked wind tunnels. One time, I saw a
Cambodian woman swept right off her feet. If she hadn’t been hanging on to a post, she would have been blown right off the face of the earth, I think. I also lived in Chicago one summer. They say the name is from the politics, not the climate, but it was a hot summer, and even the shore breeze we got felt like a blow dryer aimed at your face. I say this so that readers will not think I am some sort of delicate flower, but DAMN, this place is windy!