Spring is a colourful and fragrant season although it is also very wet – they don’t say “April showers bring May flowers” for nothing. To be prepared for those soggy, wet commutes in the spring you need correct fitting rain boots, the perfect raincoat and of course, a reliable umbrella. With the ownership of an umbrella in an urban environment come to the responsibility of proper urban umbrella etiquette because no one likes an umbrella end in the eye.
To avoid umbrella rage during your city sidewalk commute, below are a few guidelines to follow.
Stop, Look & Open
First of all, if you don’t want bad luck for the rest of your life, wait until you are outside before opening an umbrella. Next thing, check that you are opening your umbrella in a safe area while being mindful of others ow may be around you. It is considerate to point the umbrella out and downwards while opening it. Avoid pressing the magic button and letting the umbrella snap open around you where the point can be a risk at eye-level.
Bigger isn’t better
While a bigger umbrella does equate to more coverage and dryness, it also equates to inconvenience and bulk. When you’re jockeying the foot traffic along the city streets, the last thing you want is to have to maneuver an oversized golf umbrella through the crowd. Opt for a reasonably sized umbrella that can easily be stored in your bag or backpack and doesn’t take up excessive space on the sidewalk. The people around you will also appreciate not having an immense object obstructing their view and posing a potential risk to their cornea and pupil.
Maneuvering in the sidewalk traffic can be hard enough simply on foot, so adding in umbrellas makes the event even more chaotic. If you approach a fellow pedestrian also holding an umbrella, a manoeuvre must be made in order for you both to pass easily. During instances, like this, the rule of thumb is that the taller person must raise their umbrella over the others. This avoids any unwanted eye-poking and umbrella-tangoing. If you approach someone who does not have an umbrella, it is important to raise your umbrella as to not impose it on them or risk poking them with a point.
Keep the Tip to the Sky
Most umbrellas have a pointed tip which can be quite dangerous when swung around nonchalantly. Because of this, it is important to keep the tip to the sky while walking with your umbrella. If the need to tilt your head arises, try to do so without tilting your umbrella. This keeps eyeballs safe and avoids dripping water onto fellow pedestrians.
If you’ve got an umbrella, you’ve got weather protection so avoid the awnings and let those without umbrellas benefit from the few steps of dryness. It is also important to take note of the height and position of awnings to avoid getting your umbrella caught or instigating the Niagara Falls of all awning rainwater accumulations. If you have no choice but to go under an awning or through an enclosed area, it is respectful and less hassle to close your umbrella until back in the open.
Don’t Text & Umbrella
While it doesn’t seem it, being an umbrella holder is serious business. Maybe not as serious as someone driving a vehicle, but its important to pay attention to where you walk and where you put your umbrella so walk and don’t text. If you need to take a call, respond to a text or check an email, be polite and stand to the side so others can pass safely and avoid the wrath of wild umbrella points.
Sharing is Caring
Regardless of the gender of the person you are walking with, it is considerate to share the umbrella coverage. If there is a large difference in heights, it is best if the taller person holds the umbrella.
Tap Drying > Drip Drying
Before you enter, it is important to tap dry your umbrella to any excess dripping that may cause a mess or slippery hazard. If you’re in an open area off to the side away from others, you can give your umbrella an extra shake to remove all the excess droplets. If space is limited, simply tap the tip to let excess rainwater shed off.
When you are done with your umbrella, it is important to carry it carefully so as to not interfere with the people around you. Proper umbrella etiquette would be to carry your closed umbrella vertically with the point pointed downwards as opposed to horizontally for obvious reasons. It is not proper etiquette to tuck the closed umbrella under your arm and carry it horizontally.
Use the Umbrella Holder
If you enter a building with an umbrella holder, use it rather than trailing your umbrella around with you. This avoids a drip-drop trail of water revealing your every step and also frees up your hands. If you use the umbrella holder, don’t forget to grab it on your way out!