I’m fond of walking in the rain, especially at dusk when a thick fog descends over the city and the familiar landmarks become enveloped in a sombre veil of darkness. It is a time when the bleak reality melts away into a shadowy extravaganza. The urban cacophony is hushed by the soft thudding of raindrops against concrete. The trees stand still like the proud sentinels from the days of old, frozen into immobility as they keep silent watch over the city. Their glossy leaves dripping with rainwater only accentuate the delicious drowsiness hanging in the air. As the drops slowly hit the ground they splash into a myriad of perfect watery fragments. The wet grounds reverberate with soft drumming music through the stillness of the impending nightfall. The gentle tapping of rain on my umbrella answers their rhythmic falling and lulls me into a walking sleep. Pitter-patter, pitter-patter …
That is how I experience rain, at least in my romantically over-stimulated mind. In order for this “magic” to take place one very important condition needs to be fulfilled – namely, the presence of an umbrella. It doesn’t have to be new, borrowed or blue. As long as the object in question satisfies the usage requirements stipulated in section 3 Paragraph (5) of the Act No. XLIX of Parasol Proprietor Code, the umbrella-carrying community will raise no objections.
However, the problem arises when a person known to have recently been in full possession of a brolly (pardon my colloquial English) suddenly finds herself without it. We’ve all been there and we all know what it feels like to be the unlucky victim of umbrella theft. The notorious Parasol Pilferer is a man (or woman) with less moral fibre than Mr. Hyde. The worst thing is that he probably looks purer than the driven snow. Statistically speaking, he may even be a person you know.
Regardless of any possible acquaintance with this person, I loathe the misbegotten kleptomaniac filth that deprives people of their umbrellas. In what kind of world is it acceptable to dispossess a person of their rainwear? To me, another man’s umbrella is sacred. I may look at it, I might even want to touch it, but under no circumstances will I resort to grab-and-run tactics. That is not how my mama taught me. Stealing umbrellas is frowned upon by the polite society and me and will act as a gateway to heavier crimes. Today you may steal an umbrella, tomorrow you’ll be forging bank cheques and stealing people’s identities (any parallels with Frank Abagnale’s life are purely accidental). It’s a vicious circle.
Since I have no retribution strategy, people of my acquaintance have privileged me with their worldly advice. Most of them subscribe to the belief that once an umbrella has been stolen from you, you’re entitled to another person’s umbrella. That is out of the question. Blame it on my good breeding and strong sense of justice, but I shy from all acts of criminal nature, except perhaps loitering in public places (but it’s all done with a great deal of elegance and style), so please don’t feel uneasy on that account.
Clearly, I feel very strongly about umbrellas. They have served humankind well. In times of tempest, their popularity skyrockets, making them even more coveted than Legolas’ hairpins at a Lord of the Rings convention. I, for one, take my umbrella everywhere I go and have probably single-handedly raised it to the status of a must-have accessory. It goes without mentioning that to an imaginative mind umbrella can serve as a magic wand (remember Hagrid), a club when you’re being attacked by a pigeon (it could happen) and as the ultimate flying contraption (didn’t you people watch Marry Poppins?). Therefore, the anger and resentment directed against umbrella thieves are perfectly justifiable.
To the heartless lowlifes who steal (and will continue stealing) umbrellas, I say this:
Don’t be surprised if sometime, somewhere, someplace when you least expect it, someone steps up to you and says, busted! You’re on the Umbrella Thief’s Most Wanted List and it’s pay-back time!
All in all, these people need to be stopped. By stealing other people’s portable property, they have forfeited the right to carry umbrellas themselves. The only person exempt from this list is Abelard Took who had the unfortunate habit of borrowing other hobbits’ umbrellas. Luckily, Bilbo was a far better sport than I am and left him an umbrella “for his very own” (Tolkien 2008, p. 47). I would let him get wet and ruin his coat. As you can see, events of this kind made a bitter woman out of me. You know what they say, once an umbrella-theft victim, always an umbrella-theft victim. Fight it while you still can.