I left my morning swim suitable coiffed- garbed in woolen knits with my favorite ice coloured alpaca wool scarf I strutted off to work. A swipe of lipstick, lashes of mascara, hair down. After a torrential and vociferous downpour at my train station (the wind stormed at just the right angle to shoot rain at us high pressure under the awning on the platform) I’m returning home looking like some creature from the deep sea.
Anyone who knows me, even just a little, will be aware of my ill-fortune with umbrellas. I’ve strewn them all over the world. I don’t discriminate my choice as to which I’ll lose- for I’ll lose all of them. My favorite large black umbrella with its soft curve wooden handle that offered a clever little deception to its users- the interior opening out to Botticelli’s Birth of Venus was left absentmindedly in a hair salon while I turned platinum blonde. But don’t think being brunette is any guarantee. I’ve bought overpriced (but never decadently so) little purse size umbrellas with resin handles and supple shiny overcloths, long handled receptacles to match outfits…I’ve settled for flamingo pink, bottle green tartan but never the clear cling film like asian style models. No fear.
Over time the realization has dawned on me like the sun that never sets: I will lose every umbrella therefore I might as well become frugal. Thus I’ve bought multiple cheap black miniature models that rust in a day from even a light shower, only to lose them before any sign of rust.
When I lost the most loved umbrella I instigated a new approach. I would count each umbrella lost. Maybe counting would make me more accountable for their fate. I reached 17 in October last year, after some 4 months of tallying religiously like a banker. Many were discarded in a daze on dismounting rickety Sofia trams. One was left slumped at my feet in the National Theatre. Mesmerized by the theatre boards, so it remained, wilted and damp. When my feet roamed home, it didn’t accompany them. I’ve gone to collect an umbrella forgotten after warm company and honey sweetened camomile tea from a friend’s block apartment in downtown Sofia, only to forget to take mentioned umbrella in addition to the one I arrived with.
At number 18 of the ill-fated umbrella count I ceased my counting. The 18th umbrella loss spurred me to realise the futility of being accountable. Keen to fluster and enchant our palates with some Spanish cheese, Mr Divageiger and yours truly parked the little Renault in the closest park we could find to Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Markets. The rain was tumultuous so in all his chivalry Mr Divageiger strolled sans umbrella to an oriental supermarket some 500 metres away. Returning with crimson umbrella in tow, he shuffled to the market, taking the bulk of rain while shielding me. I told him I’d take care of this special umbrella and that it would be the immortal number 18. But fate and il destino made a fool of me and it was abandoned, I can’t even fathom where.
The count has ceased. From now on I think I’ll abandon my frugality as much as I abandon my umbrellas. I’ve decided to try it the other way around. Surely I’d not forsake a Hermes receptacle as such and leave it forlorn, slumped?
Wish me luck!