Tuesday, 4 September 2007

A Tribute to the Magic Umbrella

I bought this Umbrella in Osaka, when it was hinting at rain.

I should have known then. You see, as soon as I bought this umbrella, it stopped hinting at rain and cleared up, leaving me, nonplussed, carrying an umbrella around when I didn't need it.

I liked this umbrella, because it had a cord instead of a little plastic loop at the end, which meant I could tie it around my bag strap instead of having to carry it in my hand any time I wanted to bring it with me.

It was only after about a month of bitter cold in March (the first of the odd weather this year) that I noticed something strange. First, I attributed it to Murphy's Law, but later I realized I had purchased a magic umbrella over in Osaka.

You see, this umbrella controlled the weather. Every (I mean every) time I brought the umbrella with me to work, it didn't rain; every time I left it at home, it DID rain. All through late March, April, and May, this continued, so consistently it could only have been magic. I began to boast of my magic umbrella, really, to anybody who would listen. It became a bit of a running joke.

Then, in late June, I decided to leave the umbrella in Korea while I went to Canada. I was lucky, in retrospect, that rain didn't follow me to every destination in Canada, but instead, a far sadder thing happened. Probably from disuse, the magic umbrella lost its power to control the weather.

You see, in August, I carried the umbrella every day. . . but it rained every day, too. This brilliant umbrella lost its power to control the weather, and then, as if to really hammer it home that it was no good anymore, on one of those ghastly rainy August days, it started dropping water on me, right through its cloth rain-shield. The poor thing had had it. So, I have retired the magic umbrella, and purchased a normal umbrella, whose only power is shielding me from the rain (except mist rain on windy days, which blows right up under the umbrella, pleasantly flecking my face with cool rain, and [if my Korean friends are correct] burning all my hair follicles and causing me to go bald.)

Here in Korea, many women have two umbrellas. One for rain, which keeps the acid rain from burning off their hair, and another light one for the sun, to keep the sun from tanning their skin into a darker shade (big no-no in Korean beauty standards). I'm not sure what happens when they bring the rain umbrella and it's sunny, or vice versa. Things must get very confusing.

Meanwhile, the weather in August was the worst of any month in my life. Yes, worse even than those three weeks of cold rain and grey skies in Fraser Valley Februaries. It rained almost every morning, which is tiresome in itself, but then, in the afternoon, it totally defied normal "rainy morning rules". Instead of brightening up into a nice, moderate day, where all the humidity has rained out in the morning, all the rain on the ground, and more moisture in the sky combined for a hammer/anvil double-whammy attack, and made the whole world as muggy and hot as a steam bath. Your skin melts off and you can't move, and the sun's bright, but then every once in a while it starts raining (sometimes really hard) so you better not be caught without an umbrella. . . yeah. it sucked. Most muggy Augusts have at least a few really brilliant beautiful days between the dog-days, but this entire month had no reprieve. Just disgusting.

THIS is why people are finally worrying about climate change. Because they NOTICE it.

Anyway, a moment of silence for the magic umbrella's untimely demise.

OK that's enough.

And let's hear it for September!

It's gotten interesting choosing subject matter for the blog, now that my Korean students, as well as my funky uncle, my dear friends, and, for all I know, total strangers, are reading it. Just when I think I can write anything I want, one of my students mentions a post or something.

What can you do, except write as if you might one day run for office? I don't know. I'll try not to do that, though.

Love you all, and hope to continue giving you an honest slice of my life.



Alyssa said...

Hey! I love the cold rain and grey skies in Fraser Valley Februaries...(in fact, i love BC rain in general)

tamie said...

I know precisely what you mean about the difficulty of choosing subject matter when you know that a wide variety of people in your life are reading your words. Do you want yourself to be known? Well yes of course. But which "yourself" do you pick? And how well known?

bradj said...

Great post, Rob. There should be more dialogue about how the metaphysical exists only in the absence of the physical, and vice-versa. This is simply the summary of a universal fact: that it's magic inherently means that it's a terrible precipitation deflector. Extrapolating, it seems natural that faith and reality cannot co-exist. :-)

Roboseyo said...

You understood exactly, Brad! I used the umbrella as a metaphor for lost faith and self-fulfilling prophecies, but, in the absence of habit-forming rituals, such placebos lose their extrinsic values where there were no intrinsic ones to begin with!

Thanks for seeing through my carefully masked "public blog persona" and understanding the true revelations hidden in my seemingly innocuous posts.

Aunt Heather said...

I worry about you and brad ;-)