Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Not Just A Rainy Night In Georgia

"Sometimes, I feel like it's raining all over the world..."

Well, it's raining on Broadway and 73rd and, according to, it's absolutely pissing in Kilkenny. What's even worse, we're talking cold urine. 

Over there, people are lighting fires and turning on electric blankets and wrapping themselves up in warm public houses. Meanwhile, outside the subway station on 72nd, the man selling umbrellas is getting soaked, but he refuses to break out the merchandise for his own personal use. The sign of dedication and frugality, not to mention impending pneumonia.

"Hummmmm-brelllllas!" He shouts, "get your hummmmmm-brelllllas quick, before it stops raining".

I'm walking in mesh sneakers, designed by the same man who patented the Tetley teabag. Rain flooding in, flavour flooding out. I refuse to buy an umbrella ($5) because I bought one yesterday and left it somewhere. There is a certain mourning period that has to elapse before a replacement is acquired.

I pop into Starbucks and check out the history of the umbrella on Wikipedia. Yes, when you stop drinking, your life takes on an ineffable sadness. Drunks talk about end-of-the-world scenarios and the complexity of DNA and the irreconcilable differences between the sexes and the love they never shared with their father. - Sober people are fascinated by trivia. 

I discover that the Latin word 'umbella', a flat-topped rounded flower, is the source of the modern word. Why did we fell the need to insert an 'r'? It sounds like something that might have started in Kensington & Chelsea; the 'r' has always been problematic for the English. Of course, some people never went with the 'r' version. People from West Cork.

I look out the window. It's still raining. I'm leaving two foot-shaped puddles on the tile floor. I look up 'galoshes' on and discover it comes from Old French, Galoche, wooden shoe. I need to seriously consider going back on the booze. The true meaning of life is out there, in some comfortable tavern, waiting to be resolved.

1 comment:

  1. I love your writing Barry - I've guffawed many times so far as I feel the same way!

    I've lost 2 umbrellas recently and I thought I was the only saddo that this really annoyed! No-one to blame but myself of course, that's the worst part. At least if someone robbed it I could wallow in martyrdom!!

    I read your original piece in the Irish Times - fab writing. Then saw you on get around!

    Are you over there alone or with family? It makes a difference. I'm one of those "iPaddies" you talk about (trust me, I hate myself!) so if you ever want to read about my similar experiences in Vancouver but as a first time emigree check out

    Not as good as yours of course as I'm only a "young thing" but I think we share one delightful Irish trait that NY is built on (probably because of the Irish in Yonkers!) but is not quite so pervasive in Canada - cynicism!!!