Mike Maxwell in Aurora on 11/30/17


Hell of Umbrellas

Long before the days where the fear of losing one’s wifi signal would wrench our day there was a simpler way for the day to go right to hell. I commute into Chicago via the train and have for years and there’s always one way to log jam all of the commuters worse than POTUS visiting. It’s so ridiculous on how worthless we act in rain it’s entertaining.  

 The other day it was raining in Chicago, and not the Hollywood style conduce to winning back your ex. It rained in Chicago a slightly lighter clip than the precipitation that hits row of herbs at the grocery store. When it pours in Chicago, it’s not nearly as bad on the commute mainly because our orange slice generation is now able to log in remotely to maintain their productivity and chi.  

The faintest of rain in a morning commute is impactful on a couple levels. As a simple guy it impacts me in regards to work attire as I have two coats a winter over coat, and a trench coat that sold me on a vision of Bogart but delivered me a near complete McGruff costume. In my mind it’s not the end of the world because, one I’m a middle aged guy, two I live in the Midwest and who really cares what I wear, and most importantly, I know I’m not attractive so who cares what rendition of wet cat I perpetuate. 

I think it’s safe to say a good percentage of female commuters (especially in their 20s-30s) hear ‘rain tomorrow’ and before the details come they’re already getting the fashion wetsuits out for the next day. Never mind that the total anticipated precipitation in the entire state is less than three inches, please do put on those absurd knee high rubber boots that I think are intended for cranberry farmers.   

As generally ridiculous most of the inclement weather fashion is, none really slow down the rush hour, except for the umbrella. Now, I agree with many of you thinking, ‘how in the world is the umbrella a fashion statement?’ Clearly, you’ve never seen the animal print umbrellas that pepper Wacker Drive.  

I may be overstepping my bounds here as I am not sure if we as a nation will ever come to terms on gun control, but I think we could actually agree on umbrella control. It’s simple. There should be no umbrellas allowed to be opened in a major metro area. That means most state capitals are A OK!  

Early in my career I worked a bank drive through and I’d lose count each day with the number of SUV drivers hopping the curb. The same level of adept motor skills are on display with people that indeed are trying to chew gum and walk at the same time.  

There are commuters who will get down the stairs and immediately open up the umbrellas, before getting actually out from the over pass. The concept of getting wet is pushing them to defense mode before 8:00 a.m. On behalf of the fellow tall people, there’s nothing more obnoxious than to be blessed with height over six feet only to have a sea of spring loaded tarps pop up in our eyes.  

If I must acknowledge a silver lining in the harassment that umbrellas bring our culture, I will say it does shed just the right light into one’s personality. We have the cheapo, who’s umbrella has at least two broken joints and can’t withstand a single wind gust. The self-absorbed golf umbrella that takes up both sides of the sidewalk as though they are hoisting a Lincoln Navigator in their hands. Finally, umbrellas are good at letting us know who the chump is the relationship as without fail, some guy will always be extending over his umbrella as though he’s modernized the laying of a coat on a puddle.  

I don’t know if cities would ever ban umbrellas but I can hope. In the meantime, I ask you be the change you want to see in the world, and wear a poncho. Sure some people will laugh at you but most will think you just came back from Busch Gardens, and then they’ll be jealous of you.