Rain, Rain…London-Theater Studies, Spring 2009
I enjoy rain and don’t do my hair often enough for it to consistently ruin it. I don’t usually carry an umbrella, but today I was glad I did. As I was leaving the station I lifted my umbrella really high to open it. I pressed the button and (!) it’s opened. Well, I must have not lifted it quite high enough because I nearly put out a tall, well-dressed man’s eye. Luckily it startled him enough that he just laughed. My eyes went wide and I wasn’t sure if I should apologize or just give a sheepish smile and run off. I did all three. I didn’t get far because there’s a cross walk directly in front of the station, but I felt ridiculous all the same. He ended up a few strides in front of me as we crossed the road and continued in the same direction.
Before I continue the story I must first tell you that this is my first time carrying an umbrella in London, but this is definitely not the first time it’s rained in London. Often when it rains, if you do not have an umbrella you must consistently watch your face and limbs because the umbrella people might “mind the gap”, but they don’t mind you. They will run right into you with that umbrella or run you off the sidewalk with it. When multiple umbrellas pass each other they run into each other because neither person takes care to avoid the other person. This is not every umbrella-carrier, but it is fairly commonplace.
The story continues…
So I am walking behind a few umbrellas and a couple other umbrellas are walking towards us. Instead of colliding different people moved their umbrellas up, down, or kept them at the exact right place so none of them collided. It was lovely and oddly funny. I laughed. The man I nearly hit earlier turned and smiled with a questioning look on his face. I moved my umbrella up and down similar to how the pattern had gone and he understood why I giggled. He laughed as well.
A short time later I turned left and he continued down the sidewalk.
It was so nice to be acknowledged on the streets. The rain often keeps us from making eye contact with people. We are consistently B-lining it for the nearest respite from the chilly precipitation. I walked my last two blocks quietly singing “Singing in the rain”.
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