Pro-Con: Umbrellas in Seattle

Staff writer Aimee Curl relayed an anecdote this morning about how she and her mother were walking along Ballard Ave. with an umbrella this weekend. Here, they were encountered by a non-umbrella wielder. The conversation went as follows:

Non-umbrella wielder: "Cardinal sin."

Curl: "What?"

Non-umbrella wielder: "Carrying an umbrella in Seattle."

Curl was surprised to hear that her managing editor is firmly in the camp of the non-umbrella wielder, to the point where I might have heckled her and her mom as well. Why? For one, if you're of a certain height (i.e., above 6'), umbrellas might as well be head-seeking darts. Secondly, natives of Rain City -- and those who dare adopt it as their home -- embrace the rain, not accessorize to defend against it. Herein, a baseball cap and waterproof jacket (and, okay, maybe a pair of duck shoes when there's standing water like there was today on Delridge) are declared to be the only forms of "rain gear" that a true Seattleite can don with a clear conscience.

For her part, Curl doesn't buy this line. "That?s the silliest thing I?ve ever heard," says the Bend, Ore. native. " I also think it speaks to the native nature to not be proactive, but passive aggressive." Then there's Mark Fefer, a King County native who once subscribed to my doctrinaire rainology, yet had his will broken during one of his repeat sabbaticals in New York City. "I remember when I first moved to the east coast and wondered why everyone lugged these stupid things around," says Fefer, who, curiously, has spent the entire day wearing a black ballcap bearing the name of an obscure jazz label. "Then I finally started using one. And I realized, you know what? I don?t actually like being rained on. And I?ll never go back."

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