First of all, I don’t really get the point of golf umbrellas. Wikipedia doesn’t have an entry on them, which just goes to show that they’re not really legit, but Wisegeek says they are “designed to be much larger than a standard umbrella, to protect both the golfer and his or her cart” “from the rain and the sun.” Oh golf, what a joke. I think as a lawyer I’m supposed to automatically like golf, but really, I hate most things about it. I can’t wait until the next time someone tries to argue that it’s a sport. You have little go-carts to get from point A to point B, a caddy to carry your clubs and you need umbrellas to protect you from the outdoors? Wouldn’t it just be easier if you all played Wii golf instead?
Ok, well back to my original point. I’m talking to you people, the ones carrying XXXL umbrellas as you walk down the sidewalk. What is WRONG with you? I hate that I have to tell you this, because it’s self-evident, but the fact that we’re even having this conversation serves to demonstrate that you’re woefully lacking in the self-awareness and/or decent human being categories, so here goes.
During the day there are 2.87 million people in Manhattan. 66,940 people/sq.mi. A lot of people. I was really prepared to do crazy math to illustrate how crowded the Manhattan sidewalks really are, but as it turns out, the good folks of the NYC gov had a study done to address this very issue and, among the other fancy facts and figures they came up with, they discovered that on a moderately traveled 3-foot-wide sidewalk there will be 1,080 people/hour for about 9 “passing events” per minute. That’s 18 people every minute that have to stop walking to get out of the way of another person. (You can read it all here, but fair warning, I got a headache attempting to do so).
So even though Manhattan’s sidewalks are incredibly crowded some of you choose to throw 62 inch-diameter umbrellas into that equation. Because how could that possibly be a bad idea? How? Well, it’s fairly obvious to anyone who is capable of seeing that there is a world beyond them, but if you’re the kind of person who brings a golf umbrella onto the crowded Manhattan sidewalks, then either you’re not capable of thinking about the world that exists beyond the end of your nose OR you’re even further up the ladder of evil in that you are a selfish prick who is cognizant of the havoc ze is wreaking but simply doesn’t give a damn. In either case, let me suggest to you that it is a bad idea. If the notion that you are getting in other people’s way and risking poking someone’s eye out doesn’t persuade you in and of itself, then you are a bit of a sociopath, but let me appeal to your baser, more selfish sense of self-preservation and say that even if you don’t care about your fellow human being, one day you might poke the wrong person in the eye and they will sue you or have you arrested for battery. Wait, that’s the lawyer talking again. What I mean is, they’ll punch you in the face.
“But, AGSC, I might get WET if I don’t carry around my own personal tent to shuffle around in! What am I to do?” Well, luckily, for once, I not only bitch about the problem but I have thought of some solutions.
- Remind yourself that it’s just water, and unless you’re made of/dressed in something that is completely water-soluble it’s actually probably not going to be the end of the world. It’s water. It evaporates. Being wet is not a permanent state of being. You will be dry again.
- Try being considerate. Maybe if your umbrella wasn’t poking and prodding me all the damn time I wouldn’t be prompted to write this screed about it. If you must carry it, do so in a way that doesn’t get in other people’s way. If I don’t notice it I won’t have to fight the urge to whack you upside the head with it.
- Even normal-sized umbrellas are annoying on crowded sidewalks, but they’re not nearly as obtrusive as your damn golf umbrella.
- Wear a raincoat/poncho/hat/rainboots/etc. Seriously, this is probably the best way to actually stay dry. It will probably work better than your stupid umbrella. The fact that you won’t poke an eye out is just gravy.
- Don’t walk on the sidewalks. I know, I’m always advocating walking and public transit, but if you’re too precious to get some raindrops on you then maybe you should leave the sidewalks for us plebs and you can get to where you’re going by using a means of transportation more in line with your precious status.
- Move to a rain-free climate.
So those are your options. If you don’t take heed, don’t be surprised when boycliche screams “Fore!” in your ear when he passes you and that canopy you carry around with you on rainy days. Can’t say I didn’t warn you.