The strangest thing happened during our morning walk a few years ago.
My daughter and I were returning home from breakfast, talking about the delicious food we shared and laughing at puppies playing on the path in front of us. I was carrying our new colorful umbrella because it looked like rain.
Suddenly, someone grabbed the umbrella from behind, forcing me to stop.
“How dare you!” yelled a woman I had never seen before, seething with anger.
I had no idea what she was talking about. The fruit and vegetable vendors around me (that I had spoken with daily for years) looked on questioningly. We were all confused.
“I’m sorry. I don’t understand.”
“How dare you walk around with this large umbrella! You think you own this place! I have lived here for quite some time—almost three months! I carry tiny umbrellas to blend in better. Clearly you know nothing about this place! How long have you been here?”
“Nearly seven years” I replied, watching her cautiously.
I was still confused at her behavior. So was everyone else.
“Well! I find that hard to believe because of your large umbrella and horrible attitude—walking around laughing with your daughter! How do you know you will not accidentally poke someone with this umbrella? You are going to injure people! You should buy clothes and umbrellas the same as everyone else or you will never blend in! This is how you look when you walk with your umbrella! Clearly you are a terrible American!”
I asked if I had accidentally bumped her or someone else with my umbrella. She said no, then proceeded to jump in front of me, imitating my “umbrella walk.” Apparently I looked like an angry speed walker doing the Cha Cha.
“Ha!” she spat hatefully, and turned away in a huff— imitating my “terrible umbrella strut” until she disappeared from sight.
At this point, one of the fruit vendors asked whether we should call the local police. I said no, because clearly the woman had some problems, but was not hurting anyone. I added he should call the police only if he saw her trying to hurt someone physically or doing something illegal. He agreed.
He also said umbrellas and clothes do not matter much as long as people dress to cover themselves. In his opinion it was smart to carry an umbrella big enough for my daughter and I to stay dry in the heavy monsoon rains. It was my turn to agree. My daughter and I walked home, shaking our heads at this bizarre experience.
How strange for this woman with bright orange hair, blue eyes, and very Western clothes, to think tiny umbrellas could make someone blend in. I wonder what she would have done if I told her about my landord? He is not American (like the rest of us oversized umbrella lovers), but reminded me to buy a large umbrella (like his) for monsoon.
I wanted to let her in on a “secret” — everyone there already knew she and I were foreigners. Also, when people take time to understand one another, they can usually have a good relationship despite cultural differences. Differences can be appreciated, force us to learn and stretch our thinking.
I saw her again a few days later, smiled, and said hello just to see what would happen. She shook my hand eagerly and asked how I was doing— like nothing had ever happened. Interesting.
FYI— I decided to continue life with my oversized umbrella and happy walk.
So watch out!
For the group of ladies who encouraged me to write these stories. I love & miss you!
-Just for Fun- list25.com/25-insanely-unique-umbrellas
Don’t forget to watch for my First Book on Amazon, coming on October 15! ❤