October 19: raincoats and umbrellas

I have bought a new raincoat and am looking for the right moment to wear it. It is a green rubberised mac (amazon green the brand calls it) which looks ridiculous if it is not raining. I wore it yesterday when I thougtt it was going to pour down. It didn’t. On Sunday it had poured down and I’d left it at home hanging forlornly on its hanger looking ruefully out at the sheets of water that were lashing the windows panes. When I wore it yesterday in the dry weather it gave rise to a litany of comments. ‘Goin’ fishing?’ was one wiseacre. ‘That’s really green’, was another, as though a euphemism for a crime against beige. ‘Where did you get that?’ someone asked. ‘In a big store,’ was my answer, keeping it intentionally vague. Actually and to my shame, I bought it in Harvey Nichols. I had only gone in there to see what kind of things were available and with the aim of going off to a cheaper shop or on-line. But then in a moment of unguarded what-the-hellism i just bought it.
Rain is always a source of confusion. Take umbrellas. I have a nice umbrella, but it’s too nice to take out because what happens mainly with umbrellas is they get left on buses or trains or in desolate waiting rooms. That is their primary function. The secondary, peripheral function is shielding you from the rain. When they interview umbreallas for the umbrella job most questions concern how they secrete themselves in the interstices between seats and the crannies of the intermediate zones of life (rooms you will never go back to; vehicles that can never be relocated). Of course, the upside to this is that one can acquiire a new umbrella at any moment, as though dropped from heaven. Why, only last week I found a vry handy little umbrella that folds up neatly and pings open on pressing a little green button. Amazon green.


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