Well, we’re in the thick of it here in Vancouver. Look outside. See that grey? That rain falling from the sky? That’s your view for the next 9 months.
It’s odd, I spend my days at work talking to people on the phone from all over the country and most people when they find out I’m in Vancouver tease me for the rain we have here. Well it’s better than it being 20 below and snowy, I constantly think to myself. Because while it rains all the time, I can deal with it. Dare I even say that in the middle of a long stretch of heat and sun, I miss the rain (that is, until it rains and I realize that I was wrong). I’m a Vancouverite through and through I guess, rain makes me feel at home. One of my co-workers, a recent Calgary transplant, is unsure if he’ll make it through the Winter. It’s the grey I’m told, Calgarians may consider -10 degrees to be a warm day in December, but at least there’s sunshine reflecting off that snow.
And with rain brings umbrellas. Oh the umbrellas, they’re the key to our existence but also the bane to any bus riders as well.Why? Well for a few key reasons, mainly being they’re wet. Everything leads back to the wet.
I want you to imagine back to your days in elementary school. It’s library time, and you being a curious 10 year old get to chose your weekly book to borrow. Lucky you, you’ve spotted the familiar red binding of the Choose Your Own Adventure series on the the spin racks, this one called Adventures on the City Bus, a new one you’ve never seen before. (At this point you all must amuse me and tell me you remember these books, if not they just tell this old gal that you do and make no mention of the fact that when you were 10 you were borrowing Harry Potter).
Our story begins:
You’re running towards the bus. Or you’ve be waiting at the stop for twenty minutes. It’s pouring rain and as you get on the bus you lower your umbrella and flash your pass to the driver.
-If the bus is full, jump to option one.
-If you’re able to grab a seat, read option two.
1- You glance down the bus, bodies are pressed up against each other in ways that would make an Usher music video seem tame. You mosey on up to the closest person next to you and hold on for dear life. You’ve got your right hand gripping the pole and in your left is the umbrella. That soaking wet umbrella that will either be pressed up against you or your neighbour. Granted, against the neighbour seems like the best option, but in this adventure karma is law and some other neighbour will just as well soak you with their umbrella. The only dry solution it to put it down, so you do. You’re cruising along merrily, sipping your coffee that’s in your umbrella free hand. Once you get to your stop and jump off, on to your destination you realize that bus just pulled away with your umbrella on it.
2- You grab a seat. Sweet. You’ve got a place to put your bags down, you can play around with your phone, perhaps tweet a witty remark about scoring the last free seat. You don’t need to press that wet umbrella up against yourself or another rider. And being a responsible transit user you do not put the soaking wet umbrella on the seat next to you. You casually toss it on the floor or in the space between your seat and the window. Your stop comes up, you ding the dinger, grab your bags and you’re off. It’s not until you’re off the bus in the pouring rain that you’ve realized you’ve left your umbrella on their. Or, maybe it’s not raining anymore and you don’t notice this until you’re leaving work later that day and notice your umbrella no where to be seen.
The point is, no matter what adventure you choose/is chosen for you, you get screwed some how.
Suggestions have been thrown back and forth in conversation about umbrella holders on the bus, but for a company that can’t even figure out a way to put up no smoking stickers on their bus stops, I’m not holding my breathe.
My only solution, a rule which I have lived by for years, is to adopt the strategy of the umbrella free-for-all. Everyone forgets their umbrellas on the bus, in classrooms, in stores, etc. You forget yours somewhere, so I say just pick one up next time you see it lying around and you’re in need. There are only a few key rules to this game:
- The owner must have forfeited their rights to the umbrella, meaning they’re not around.
- You can’t be picky. Don’t expect to get anything fancy like a push button for both putting the umbrella up and down.
- Do not spend too much for your contributions either. I have a rule, I don’t spend more than $12 on sunglasses or umbrellas (sunglasses being that my purse destroys whatever I throw in their). That way if you lose your umbrella, you’re not too sad and if you get something better in comparison back it’s a major boost to your day.
- Don’t buy anything cute, it’ll piss you off more when you lose it. And it’s just not fair to the male species who participate
I picked up my latest umbrella from Superstore for $6.98. Cheap! And who cares when I lose it, because it’s inevitable that I will.
What do you think, is it a yay or nay to the Umbrella Free-For-All Program? Any other rules we should add? What about solutions to the umbrellas on a bus problem?