Rain, Rain, Come My Way

The very most wondrous and fascinating and thrilling thing about living in New York City is the storm season that occurs on or about May through August. In some parts of the country it is called Hurricane Season. Up in New York City if ever we get a hurricane it has usually been demoted to a Tropical Storm, which means I get to enjoy a bombastic storm every now and then without fear of floodings or things of that nature (nature!) and for that I am grateful because Oh how I love me a good, angry storm.

Last night we had a major thunder storm. We completely lost our power and so we watched the greenish purple sky erupt into flashes of pink light and listened to the thunder boom and rumble all night.

We live on the 17th floor and have a crazy insane view of Brooklyn and the New York harbor. We can see every blast of lightning as it hits tall buildings around us. It is like God’s fireworks show, just for us. Peter Pan was appropriately concerned, but didn't show any sign of being a neurotic mess, and that was also nice.

Then I tried to sing that "Rain Rain Go Away" song , and in so doing I realized that there are two renditions and that I have no idea which goes how and that saddened me until I forgot and became obsessed with the smell of my dog’s feet (corn chips).

Anyway my point is there is nothing I love more than a good thunder storm. We had great ones growing up in Mesa, (monsoon season!) where you could smell the rain in the desert before it even started to fall and we have great ones here. Not like the rain in Portland, which just falls about without any direction or aim and never seems to go away, like willy-nilly sissy rain. Pfft, Portland Rain is Lame. This rain has purpose! Meaning! And that meaning today was to flood the Number 4 train so that Holbs couldn't get home.

He called from City Hall where he was transferring to the R after already having tried the 2/3 but which was so crammed that he decided he'd get home sooner if he walked across the Brooklyn Bridge in the rain, which he didn’t end up doing after all, but would have been a very dramatic “take that!” to the MTA, who I’m sure would have cared very deeply. So.

But what I have really been wanting to tell you is about the Umbrellas and the Umbrella Men who sell them and how they delight me more than cream cheese. So here is what I have to say about them:

The Umbrellas are black and cost $5 and are sold by men who seem to appear magically on the streets about five minutes before a storm begins. How they know a storm is about to start or where they go once it is over is a complete mystery. But they show up. Even if you do not believe a storm is coming, if you see these men you’d best buy an umbrella. They call them UM-brellas.

“UMbrellaUMbrellaUmbrella,” they call.

Once you have purchased an UM-brella the rain will surely fall. And then you and your UM-brella will brave it together. But inevitably, your UM-brella will not live to see the end of the storm. Inevitably the winds will blow through the city streets so hard that your UM-brella will turn itself inside-out and you will stand there in the street, as rain pummels your face and streaks your mascara just like in the movies, and you will wail “UM-BRELLAAAAAA!” as you hold its broken frame to your body. You will mourn, and you will be all soaking wet.

After a really good storm it is fun to go out and survey the damage. After one such storm the Holbs and I ventured out to see the carnage and visit the neighborhood Barnes and Noble. The UM-brellas were littered like fallen soldiers in the streets, twisted and broken and discarded in the gutters. You step over them with as much reverence as you can muster. They died fighting the good fight. They died too young. You are out $5 and you still got wet. But you lived to see another day.

Like I said, the most marvelous and wondrous and fantastical thing about New York City.

(Except for Bagels.)


  1. I love thunderstorms too! Especially when sitting home and listening to all those sounds

  2. Such a great shot. This all sounds magical!


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