It was reported yesterday that a cloud stretching from China to the Pacific Northwest would dump lots of rain on Seattle today. A large and darkish cloud did cover the city around noon, but not much rain fell from it. But even that rain, little as it was, was enough for umbrellas to bloom up and down the city's sidewalks.
Those who have lived in Seattle for many years usually do not own or have little to do with this easily lost object. But those who are new to the city love it and pull it out even in a drizzle that's so thin that it evaporates upon contact with your warm-blooded skin. As a consequence, the rapid population growth of the city has come with a sharp increase in the number of umbrellas. That is something we can all live with.
What we can't live with, however, are big umbrellas. There is no place for them here. They hog space on sidewalks. They are obscene and give pedestrians—the saints of transportation—a bad name. If you are going to use an umbrella (which, like air conditioners, are not really needed in this corner of the world), then make sure they are small and, for the sake of style (which matters), a little frail looking. The most beautiful umbrellas in the world look sorry.