brolly blues

Wet? Darling, no!

A month or two ago a store in near Pike Place closed because it just wasn’t drawing enough business. This in itself isn’t all that surprising (times being what they are) but the nature of the business made the story go national.

Because the store that closed dealt in umbrellas.

And the websites that carried this news were aghast. It rains in Seattle, right? All the time, right? So clearly if ever there was a business that was destined to thrive in Seattle (where it rains) [all the time!!] {no really!!!}, surely it would be… dealing with umbrellas.

To quote that great philosopher of the 21st century: “the fuck???”

Well first and foremost is the issue that umbrellas in The Big City (or even the Big Quaint Fishing Village that is Seattle) don’t mix. You need to have some Matrix-esque kung fu to be able to bob, duck and weave your umbrella around everyone else’s umbrella at the best of times. Forget that when you’re dealing with a lunch rush or the crush to get out of town at the end of the day.

But more importantly you need to know that Seattle doesn’t have “rain”. It really doesn’t.

Oh sure, my weather app is predicting the rain will stop at 5ish this afternoon and the radar indicates precipitation…

… but that’s not rain. And you don’t really get that until you’ve lived here for a while and learn that while you may want to keep an umbrella with you, it’s usually overkill. Or worthless. Or both.

Seattle gets two kinds of precipitation:

  1. “Mist with a mission” – It’s sort of sprinkling, sort of not. It’s intermittent but steady enough to be annoying. And unless you’re walking a lot, it’s easier to deal with this with a hood or a hat and a good coat. Otherwise you’re running the risk of the strangest kind of RSI ever.
  2. “INCOMING!!!” – The rain is coming down in buckets and the wind off the Sound is so intense you’re spending more time trying to ensure that your umbrella doesn’t dramatically implode than trying to stay dry. The last time I had to buy an umbrella was during something like this. I popped off the tag, walked out the door of the shop and *FWOOMP*, it was an ex-umbrella. Thank god for receipts… and cashiers who saw the whole damn thing happen.

Oh yeah, I carry an umbrella. A small thing that fits in my bag that I use mostly for those bus stops that don’t have a shelter. The rest of the time, it’s better to just endure.

Welcome to Seattle. Save yourself the bother: wear a hat.


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