Posts Tagged ‘ umbrellas ’

An Open Letter to Slow Walkers

Today I walked to a coffee shop to do homework. Therefore, I was toting a rather heavy backpack. Despite that, I was still trudging along at a fairly swift clip.

I’m not a slow walker. I’ve had people give me crap in the past for walking too fast (“slow down and smell the roses, Bethany,”) but those people are simply under the wrong impression that because I walk quickly, I’m not enjoying the walk. On the contrary– I find a slow walk to be irritatingly wasteful. Why spend more time than necessary between points A and B?

But I digress.

There was a marathon going by my house today. Therefore, the sidewalk, while not riddled with people, was certainly more inhabited than is usual for a Sunday morning.

As I trudged along, heavily laden, a wide-set middle aged human male bearing a camera stepped from his post on the side of the road right into the middle of the sidewalk. Right into my path.

The thing that’s great about sidewalks is that they’re wide enough for three or more lanes of foot traffic.

The thing that’s terrible about sidewalks is that one carelessly (strategically?) placed human being can effectively block the entire sidewalk.

The wide-set human male meandered, making a speedy pass too awkward too risk. My shoulders ached from my backpack, which felt heavier as each step slowed. Finally, after attempting and failing to pass the wide-set male multiple times in the length of half a city block, the sidewalk opened into a driveway. I hauled ass and scooted around him. He seemed surprised to see me, which indicated to me that either a) he was oblivious or b) my Converse-clad footsteps are quieter than I thought.

This certain human male is, unfortunately, just one example of  Slow Walkers. I call that category the Space-Taker.

Another class of Slow Walker is the Tourist.

Tourists tend to travel in packs of three or more, oblivious to the plight of people who work in the neighborhood they’re ogling. As they slowly travel down the sidewalk, they often abruptly stop to point and comment about something in a window, a busker, a hobo, or anything that seems strange to their innocent Tourist eyes.

Tourists also tend to tote umbrellas. (Worst thing ever.)

As a Local and a Swift Walker, I find Tourists to be the worst Slow Walkers.

Other categories of Slow Walkers are Parents, Partiers, Texters, and Talkers.

I would like to extend a plea to all Slow Walkers, everywhere.

WALK FASTER!!

You can enjoy the sights and sounds just as thoroughly if you’re propelling yourself along at a normal, quick pace. You don’t HAVE to walk side by side with your friends, especially when people are trying to pass you in order to get to work.

(And on a sidebar, people who don’t make room for people coming the opposite direction, forcing them to step into the street, are real douchebags.)

If you must walk slow, please just do humanity a favor and don’t occupy the entire sidewalk with your body. There’s enough room for all of us, people! And if you put your umbrella away we’ll be friends even more.

And a warning: Slow Walkers, every time you Walk Slow in front of a Swift Walker, you risk being punched in the back of the head. Or the kidneys.

That is all.

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My Rocky Relationship with Umbrellas

Nearly Exactly a year ago, I wrote my first blog about life in Portland.

That was before I moved here, and I thought it was peculiar how Eastsiders rubbernecked my vividly red umbrella on New Year’s Eve.

Later in 2012, after my exodus from Redmond to Portland, I observed how much more common umbrellas are on the west side of the river than the east side.

As the year progressed, I grew to understand the impracticality of umbrellas. My bright red umbrella hasn’t been utilized for its intended purpose in a very long time.

A few weeks ago, as I walked down Hawthorne blvd to go to work, I got caught in a pedestrian traffic jam.

A tourist with an oversized umbrella was gazing in a shop window at a display of furniture and knick-knacks. I moved to go around her when she suddenly stepped backward from the shop window, stabbing me in the face with the spines of her deadly umbrella.

“Ouch!” I commented, somewhat loudly. While I paused to assess facial damage, umbrella tourist moseyed off down the sidewalk, blissfully unaware of the pain she had inflicted upon me. Other neighborhood residents were rudely ushered out of her way by her large spiky instrument of rain repelling and death.

The worst part is that this is not an isolated incident in my life, or that neighborhood.

Therefore, I have drawn up some great diagrams as to why umbrellas are stupid and you should invest in a nice rain jacket instead.

umbrella space

As you can see, an umbrella user takes up significantly more space on the planet than the wearer of simple, streamlined, effective rain gear. This isn’t a problem unless the sidewalks are crowded, in which case any non-umbrella users are at the mercy of the spikes of the umbrella users.

Also, umbrellas are only effective in zero MPH winds. As soon as even a little breeze springs up, umbrella carriers are at the mercy of the precipitation.

umbrella efficacy

umbrella, sans efficacy

How unfortunate.

Luckily there is an extremely practical alternative to umbrellas– to reach maximum dryness quotient, try a rain jacket!

rain jacket ftw

West vs. East

I love Portland. I really do. Every day I discover some new quirk which I enjoy.

For example.

Today, I discovered how distinct the East/West divide really can be. The weather was horrible– pouring rain just on the verge of snow for the bulk of the afternoon, and I had the exquisite pleasure of riding the bus over to the East side (again; I’m noticing a pattern here.)

As I waited for my bus downtown, I was surrounded by a forest of umbrellas. Personally, I find umbrellas to be horribly impractical– your hands freeze and nothing but your head and shoulders are kept dry, unless it’s only the slightest drizzle.

Anyway, I boarded the bus. We crossed over the Willamette river, and suddenly, all of the umbrellas were gone. Disappeared. Nada.

It’s like Westsiders are like “It’s rainy! We need umbrellas! We must take up three times the reasonable amount of space on the sidewalk!”  Eastsiders are like “Lol umbrellas are for noobs.”

Even people walking over the bridge must have stowed their umbrellas away somewhere and magically swapped to (more practical) rain gear before arriving on the east side of the river.

That is all.

Some doodles from Portland, or a blog about Hipsters.

I spent the New Year in Portland.

It was exciting. The place I was staying was right in the Hawthorne district, which is the cool part of town. (How dare you not know that, you un-cool person you.)

For those of you unfamiliar with Portland, you should know something

Portland has almost as many hipsters as obese squirrels.

I saw a squirrel out a window of almost exactly these proportions. It was amazing. But I digress.

Since I was in the cool part of town, I spent at least hours wandering around, looking at shops and stuff. Most of the time, though, I spent watching people, and playing rousing games of “Hipster-or-Hobo” with my cousin and friend.

I can say with confidence that Hipster culture is hilarious.

Out of the dozens of men I saw sporting beards, floppy beanies, plaid, and guitars, only one left an impression on me. He was walking the same direction as me at about the same pace, so I started a conversation. It was a lame conversation– I can’t even remember what words we exchanged. I’m not even positive it was the same man I was talking to the whole five minutes– another hipster man may have jumped in and taken his place when I wasn’t paying attention.

Hipster men tend to be very self-aware of their lack of self-awareness.

Hipster girls share the above trait. They also tend to be vegetarian or vegan, but not for health reasons, and smoke outside the uber-hip coffee shop they have to wait in line an hour for to get a table. Also, hipster girls appear to never cut their hair except for where it falls on their face. That, they crop into eyeball-obscuring bangs.

While I was walking around this cool part of town on a non-rainy day, I blended in pretty well. Typically I dress in plaid and jeans, and I was wearing rain boots as there were puddles everywhere.

None of the hipsters gave me a second glance; that was until it started raining.

Since I wear glasses, I dislike walking in the rain. There is something unbelievably annoying about water droplets obscuring and distorting one’s already poor vision.

So when it rains, I carry an umbrella.

A unique trait of Hipsters in the Hawthorne district is that they’re fiercely proud of the fact that many of them are Portland and/or Oregon natives. In Oregon, a good way to wave around a banner that says “I’m not from here” is to carry an umbrella. One might as well tattoo it on one’s forehead– I’m not a Native!

I couldn’t believe the number of stares I got as I walked down the sidewalk on Hawthorne blvd. with my red umbrella open over my head. As I waited for a light to cross an intersection, I thought a biker was going to crash from staring at me as he rode by.

I’m not very into attention, particularly of the negative variety, so I quickly retreated back to the house and drew this picture.

I realized after I drew it that the Hipsters’ stares had been only at what I was wearing or carrying, not at me.

It was very superficial.

Then I laughed.

Overall, the weekend was fun. I love Portland, and can’t wait to live near there. The more hipsters I get to watch, the more drawing material I’ll have.

Also, Portland is full of men with beards, and women who obviously wish they had beards.

That is all.

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