July 28, 2016

snippets, mmxvi-vii-xxviii

Happy 150th Birthday, Beatrice Potter (Myth & Moor).
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The public shaming of England's first umbrella user (Atlas Obscura). "On one occasion, a hansom cab driver even tried to run Hanway over with his coach. Hanway reacted by using his umbrella to 'give the man a good thrashing.'" Heh.

I've been mulling the purchase of a trekking umbrella, not so much for protection from the rain,* but from the sun. One thing (beside the cost) holding me back is the thought of all the odd looks I'll get. On my bike ride last weekend I wore a wide-brimmed hat instead of a helmet, and a passing rider nearly crashed from the impropriety of it. "'Tain't right," I heard him thinking. Imagine the suffering of passersby unused to seeing a grown man carrying an umbrella in the sun; why, I'd be a proper Hanway. (I'd almost certainly fare better on remoter trails. True trekkers get it - umbrellas are not uncommon on the PCT, for example.)

The second point in an umbrella's favor is its potential utility in unwanted encounters with strays. Not sure where I read it (Lassie, maybe), but there was a scene in a novel where a couple dogs got into a squabble "until the umbrellas came out." So, not a new idea, but in that use-case a handheld (or otherwise easily accessible) umbrella might be better than a hands-free trekker. I mean, a charging dog can run fifty yards in less than three seconds. A quick-release mechanism might be helpful.

So, yeah, I dunno. I mean, sometimes I march to my own drummer - heck, I practically pioneered the wearing of wide-brimmed hats in our neighborhood (more typical around here are ball caps with the brims turned backwards, sigh) - but it can get wearying. On the other hand, I have a powerful motivator in the form of a few dermatologist-disapproved spots. Sometimes getting older makes it easier to stop caring what other people think. Especially when they're wrong.

*When we lived in the Pacific Northwest nobody used umbrellas. Everyone up there had good rain gear instead. Similarly, I have it on good authority that umbrellas are not common in rainy Iceland. Too windy. That's a problem here, too - it doesn't rain often, but when it does, it comes down sideways.


  1. Holding an umbrella and a toddler, simultaneously, is pretty much a pointless endeavor.
    Don't even think of factoring in carrying groceries.

    1. So would you lean more toward hands-free or fuhgeddaboudit?

  2. You could get one of those hats that has the umbrella attached on top--
    and confound everyone!

    1. lol, but I'm reluctant to give angry strays easy access to me jugular.