Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Quick Review of Umbrella Etiquette

I realized yesterday while walking around the city during the umpteenth day of consecutive rain (I'm exaggerating, we did have one day of partial sunshine) that some people need to review the rules of umbrella etiquette. Perhaps the problem is that they have always been unwritten rules, passed down from parent to child for generations (for as far back as umbrellas have existed). Well, they are unwritten no longer:

- When walking on a crowded sidewalk (and in NYC they always are, even in the rain), dip or tilt or raise your umbrella away from people you are walking towards as you pass them. This prevents the tips of the spokes of your umbrella from gouging out the other person's eyes! The action you take will depend on the height of your umbrella which of course is dependent on your own height.

- When walking under scaffolding with an open umbrella, DON'T! There is no space for people let alone people with open umbrellas. Although the scaffolding will probably be leaking, close your umbrella until you are about to step out from under it. Because there is so much scaffolding in the city, you might be lucky enough to get where you're going without actually having to open your umbrella.

- Golf umbrellas are meant for golf courses (those open expanses of green that we don't have any of in Manhattan). Umbrellas used by people in NYC should be small and compact. (See Rule #1) In strong winds, a large umbrella never protects your bottom half from getting wet anyway.

- When getting on a bus with a soaking wet umbrella, fold it completely before you start walking to the back of the bus so that you do not get other passengers wetter than they already are.

- Do not lay a wet umbrella on a bus seat or subway seat. Carry packs of tissues with you on rainy days so that when other people have ignored this rule, you have some recourse. It is your moral obligation if you are sitting near a seat that you know is wet, to inform people who are about to sit in those seats of their "wetness". If they choose to sit anyway, your moral obligation ends.


Kristen Sara said...

I loved this post! I could create a handbook for etiquette rules (like your umbrealla tips) that I wished more people followed!

Izzy said...

Just found your blog, and I couldn't agree with you more. Another tip would be to not shake your umbrella out upon entering a building. It makes the floor slippery for others walking in, and it's just plain annoying!