December 6th, 2009
I salute the cheap $3 black umbrella industry. As I'm handing over my money to the guy selling them on the sidewalk, I’m wondering just how long this one's going to last. The demise generally begins with a dangerous metal spoke protruding out. Then another. And another. Soon after, the umbrella will abruptly turn inside out. I'll hang on a little longer until I fully accept that I look like a recently released from the institution Mary Poppins. Yet, consistency is soothing and I will continue to buy these short lived umbrellas. I can't quit them.
The expected malfunction occurred last night as I was walking through Soho during our first night of cold kind of snowy weather. I was left to dispose of the umbrella in a trash can filled with other demolished canopies designed to protect against precipitation. Unprotected from the elements, I speed walked to my destination. Until. Until I say. I was blocked by a barricade of 5 heavyset female middle aged tourists(presumably from a red state) who were at a full halt at a crosswalk that had the blinking "Don’t Walk" signal. Any New Yorker knows the blinking light is basically equivalent to "Walk". As I stood trapped, cold and wet amongst women who make casseroles with cornflakes and Velveeta, a vision occurred before me. It was a Microsoft Word 2003 document of these women's New York City vacation itinerary.Let's take a look. Shall we?
-Ride the Staten Island "cruise” for the fun of it.
-Go to the Olive Garden and enjoy authentic Italian cuisine and hospitaliano.
-Go to the Empire State Building and recall every movie where long lost lovers reunite on the observation deck. Then get bitter about your divorce.
-Go to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum and research their extensive database for relatives who entered the country. You find nothing and are left to wonder if your parents forgot to tell you that you are of Native American decent. You get sensitive about your heritage and plight.
-Go to the Statue of Liberty, an American symbol of freedom that welcomed the immigrants who came to America looking for a better life. Now that you're Native American... not so interested.
-Go to the American Museum of Natural History. Tell passersbyers that the real reason dinosaurs became extinct was due to their high processed food diet, playing with fireworks and a crystal meth addiction.
-Go to Central Park and plant a batch of pig in the blankets. Come back next year to find that they have bloomed into full sized hot dogs.
I'm sure these ladies were lovely. I was just frustrated that my hasty saunter during the city's "first frost" had been put to pause. Against my will. When one of the women asked me for directions to the Olive Garden..I promise that I was as delightful as could be as I pointed them in the right direction. As we went separate ways, I yelled across the street, "Be sure to order the Five-Cheese Ziti Al Forno!" Then I tripped on the remains of an umbrella one of these ladies left on the street. Karma.