Tuesday, September 22, 2009
A Problem with Umbrellas
The author has trouble keeping track of umbrellas. He buys them and loses them, leaving them behind at friends’ houses, on public buses, in Asian restaurants. He often finds himself in a situation where it’s raining and he has no protection, running from place to place as his clothes, shoes, and hair get soaked, pondering if one gets wet the same amount whether walking or running through the rain. He hopes that perhaps you, dear reader, have once been the beneficiary of his forgetfulness, that one of his lost umbrellas has protected your suede, your irreplaceable documents and photos, your health. He wants you to know that, yes, he’s concerned about this condition being a symptom of early-onset Alzheimer’s, and thanks you if you have shared this concern, but wants you to know that this has always been a problem, ever since he lost his Sesame Street umbrella during a trip to the zoo in kindergarten. He requests that if you see him out in the rain, running for cover and getting soaked, do not laugh or feel sorry, but rather, contemplate his dilemma for a moment—man against nature, the continual replay of the same situation, etc.—pretend there’s some meaning in it.