Illustration by Naomi Elliott
It so happens that I own the world’s coolest umbrella*. It looks like a doll. The handle is shaped like a pair of little black boots; the foldable canopy is the doll’s red dress; at the very top, as a ferrule, my umbrella has a sphere with a head painted on it: red lipstick, big eyes and a nice black hairdo, with a red flower.
While I am typically not into such cutesy things, my flamenco dancer of an umbrella has made me happy—when I received it as a somewhat unexpected gift, and ever since. I used it in Italy, where my mother commented that it looks like a decorative umbrella, not one meant to ever see the rain, and in India, where I stubbornly took it out during the monsoon (as if there is anything an umbrella could do during a monsoon).
One day last March I was walking to an interview in rainy Park Slope when the city’s merciless wind had the better of my umbrella, and tore it off, breaking a few ribs.