In Defense of Umbrellas

There is a particular phenomenon within the Pacific Northwest; one that becomes ever-present, even inescapable, each winter. Growing up in south Seattle, I never learned of this so-called “rule.” But one fateful day two years ago, I moved to Cap Hill and everything changed.

“No one in Seattle uses umbrellas,” one student touted at me.

“Owning an umbrella is like owning a VCR,” another sneered.

“I just love the feeling of rain on my skin,” a third so poetically declared.

It’s a growing dogma—borderline ideology—which renders umbrellas “unnecessary” and “useless” in this soggy city. And I feel compelled to stand up for these practical devices.

Fellow Seattleites—what is the root of your umbrella contempt? Is it that they’re relatively cumbersome? Maybe it’s because umbrellas are perpetually damp? Perhaps carrying an umbrella leaves only one free hand with which you can carry your coffee beverage?

I may not know a lot, but I can tell you one thing for certain: a world void of umbrellas is a monotonous one. They dot the streets with splashes of polka dot, plaid and paisley, coming in infinite hues. Umbrellas are be fun, even romantic, seamlessly meshing individuality with practicality.

Without umbrellas, we may wind up with a city full of people sporting the exact same black North Face raincoat. Oh wait…

Quite frankly, I find our collective rejection of umbrellas hypocritical. We are a city who identifies by its raininess. We have propagated an entire coffee industry in response to this rainy culture. We even have a festival each year called Bumbershoot, which literally means “umbrella.” So why denounce these colorful rain protectors?

Most importantly, the idea of umbrellas as “unnecessary” stems from the mindset of individuals who probably don’t take public transit or walk far during their daily commute. To appreciate the umbrella is to understand the imminent loathsomeness of being damp all day at work or school.

I know that hood of yours impairs your peripheral vision, but I’m asking you to try and see the world from someone else’s perspective. So please, stop sneering at umbrella-carriers.

Now excuse me while I walk to class without ruining my hair or getting my phone screen wet. Stay dry, friends!

Tess Riski, News Editor

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