It’s become apparent over the past week that Sydney is not equipped for precipitation, its citizens even less so. Whingeing about the lack of rain? Sure. Opening an umbrella without injuring anyone? Not so good.
Sydney’s water shortage, a news issue so serious even Jessica Rowe has had to abandon her standard perky presentation style, at least serves to bring the conversationally inept together: Looks like it might rain. Yeah -¦
Actual rain, on the other hand, after the initial Pleasantville-style bonding -“ Omigod, what’s that? Is that -¦ real rain? -“ generally causes selfish characters to emerge, my favourite being the dramatically unprepared office worker.
This person, despite all weather forecasts, heads out the door with no umbrella. In a suede jacket. You can usually see them sodden and sour-faced, huddled under an awning, waiting for the lights to change so they can knock you down as they scurry to their destination, where they will drip everywhere as they loudly share the bleeding obvious with everyone.
It’s wet out there! they’ll cry. Don’t you have an umbrella? you’ll ask. Nah, they’ll say, to which there’s nothing to say. Best just to look at them with mild irritation like everyone else. After all, they’re possibly new to this whole rain thing.
The other type, usually male, carries an umbrella so enormous it’s the footpath equivalent of the four-wheel drive. Often emblazoned with the logo of a life-insurance company, it’s the alpha brolly and it must be obeyed. Sorry, sunshine, but your $5 button-press number is no match for his massive, gleaming, multi-spoked marvel. And before you ask, there’s no room for you under it.
Then, of course, there’s the novelty carrier, who assumes that because their umbrella has ears and a smiley face it’s going to cheer everyone up. This is like wearing a T-shirt with an upbeat slogan, or telling someone to smile on the dancefloor. Please don’t.
As for the issue of the catchment area that doesn’t actually catch anything, well, if all those aggressive charity workers in the CBD used their buckets to collect rainwater, we wouldn’t be in this situation, would we?
During this brief spell of rain, I suggest we work together and be positive. Don’t think of yourself as wet, but wet-look. Because even on the dreariest day, there’s a bright side.