It's raining today.
I'm thankful for the rain, because we desperately need it heading into summer, but rain means, among other things, a threat to something I hold dear.
Being six feet tall, that puts my eyes at about 5'6″ off the ground.
Right at umbrella height for the average person.
I can't even tell you how many times I've had to duck out of the way, or actually gotten hit by someone who was carrying their umbrella right at my eyeball level.
(Photo shown above is a dramatic recreation. No eyeballs were harmed in the making of this post.)
I do my best to be aware, because I don't expect the world to do everything for me, but the fact is, sometimes I have Max with me, or yeah, I'm on the phone, or I'm blinking.
So I would like to propose the following as some potential rules for universal umbrella etiquette.
- When walking on a sidewalk that is only wide enough for two people to pass, lean your umbrella to your RIGHT shoulder, so both people lean their brolly to the outside, leaving a clear, spiky-thing free area for the bodies to pass safely. If you're in a country that walks on the left instead of the right, you're welcome to adjust accordingly.
- If you are less tall a person you are approaching, and they do NOT have an umbrella, hold your umbrella up higher, to make it easier for them to duck under. Do NOT drop it in front of you like a shield. You might miss their eyes, but you're taking up the entire sidewalk.
- Your dog might not take a quick look around before shaking themselves off, but you're smarter than your dog. Please give a cursory glance at your surroundings before shaking off your umbrella when entering a building. Other people don't need a shower while trying to walk into Starbucks.
- Consider putting your umbrella away if it isn't actually raining. I timed myself, it takes less than 2 seconds to open an umbrella; don't open it unless you see actual drops. You won't melt, I promise. This is just about reducing risk to the eyeballs and other people around you.
- You don't need to crowd at the corner while waiting for the walk sign to change. Leave enough space in between you and the next umbrella to allow someone to get in between if they need to.
- When two people are sharing an umbrella, the taller one should hold it. (Thanks Anne!)
What other rules would you propose relating to the oh-so-important issue of safe umbrella use in the world?
Thanks for raising awareness about this important issue. Also, please go back in time to 1982 and tell my sister than when two people share an umbrella, the taller person holds it?
Ooh! I should add that one, huh?
I am never prepared enough to actually use an umbrella. I own two. I don’t know where they are.
lol. it’s funny, when you’re short you get so used to being the disadvantaged one… Never being able to reach anything, etc. You completely forget about the disadvantages of being tall (you’re so jealous they don’t have to climb counters to cook)… I am also rarely prepared enough to have an umbrella, but this will definitely make me more aware. 🙂
I miss living in SF because it NEVER EVER rained. The very first day I flew into DC, it was raining!
Why is it that the taller person gets to carry the umbrella?