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Gimme shelter - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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Gimme shelter [Jan. 6th, 2005|10:28 pm]
Zoethe
[Current Mood |relaxedrelaxed]

My umbrella is living through its fourth Cleveland winter. This is an impressive accomplishment, because I am not the sort of person who leaves her umbrella at home or does without. No, I use my umbrella. It's impressive because Cleveland, being on the edge of a Great Lake, has lots and lots of lake effect wind. Kind of like Chicago, only we were clearly further back in line for city nicknames, because The Windy City* is a lot cooler than The Mistake by the Lake.

Anyway, umbrellas are notoriously short-lived in Cleveland. On a regular basis you see people struggling with an umbrella that has popped, and the spindly remains of spoiled bumbershooots stick out of city trash cans every time the wind whips up. Because no matter how diligently you hold your umbrella into the wind, you inevitably come around a corner where the wind direction changes and - POP! - your buffering arc of fabric is a cone on the end of a metal stick, good only for poking passersby until you can find a rubbish bin to stuff it in.

So three full years of Cleveland weather are pretty damned impressive. But I may have to retire it soon. Despite my assiduous efforts - studying the wind patterns of people ahead of me on the sidewalk so that I may re-angle my sail at each corner, holding onto a rib with one hand to reinforce it - my umbrella has taken a beating. The sheer force of wind crashing against it has bent or even snapped many of its ribs. One dangles directly overhead, tapping me on the scalp. It used to open with a crisp, satisfying crackle; now the many ribs and hinges groan into place, occasionally requiring a helping hand.

When I fold it, it's rather like gather up the legs of a nest of baby storks.

I know it's only a matter of time. One of the ribs will completely snap, and it will join that great scrapheap of spindly skeletons. But I can't quite give up on it yet.


*Yes, I know it was not dubbed the Windy City because of the wind but because of long-winded politicians. But since no one remembers that anymore, the wind is a perfectly good reason for the nickname to persist.
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: correspondguy
2005-01-07 05:23 am (UTC)
*I* remember it. Milwaukee actually has stronger winds than Chicago, so it comes up every now and again.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-01-07 11:55 am (UTC)
*You* were my target audience for that comment, then. [g]
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[User Picture]From: correspondguy
2005-01-07 02:43 pm (UTC)
Why do I get the feeling I been played like a fish?
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-01-07 02:46 pm (UTC)
HEEERE, FISHIE FISHIE FISHIE FISHIE!!!!!

(Highly obscure references R Us)
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[User Picture]From: napalmmk9
2005-01-07 04:24 pm (UTC)
...and he went wherever I did go.
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[User Picture]From: molkovia04
2005-01-07 09:40 am (UTC)
Wow was it really to do with politicians?

I'm going to store that in the mental database and then scare my dad with my amazing fact of the day...

Thanks for that! :)
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[User Picture]From: tygher
2005-01-07 11:21 am (UTC)
Want to be jealous? It's been over 70 degrees here since New Years. And it's expected to stay that way through Weather.com's 10 day forecast. I've had to run the AC to sleep comfortably. In January. Gah!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-01-07 12:07 pm (UTC)
C'mere so I can smack you one.... [g]
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[User Picture]From: tygher
2005-01-08 10:57 am (UTC)
Heehee! No ... you c'mere .. it's warmer!!
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[User Picture]From: ladycathead
2005-01-07 02:02 pm (UTC)
I have a small collection of umbrellas that get rotated to increase their longevity. Their colors might also complement a particular outfit I may be wearing. Yup, I'm kind of a princess, but having a serviceable umbrella that's also hot pink or leopard just makes me happy. :)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-01-07 02:07 pm (UTC)
This one is just navy blue. I am something of a clothes horse, but certain things I never even think of buying in fashio colors - hot pink would be fun!
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[User Picture]From: adjust_56
2005-01-07 03:18 pm (UTC)
Might I suggest getting anew umbrella and keeping it in your car so when this one completetly disintegates you won't be totally out in the rain....or is it the wind?
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-01-07 04:22 pm (UTC)
Probably not a bad idea!
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[User Picture]From: napalmmk9
2005-01-07 04:23 pm (UTC)
There's actually some debate about the origins of "The Windy City."

"Popular myth has it that this nickname for the Chicago was coined by Charles Dana, the editor of the New York Sun, in 1893. Chicago was competing with New York to host the 1893 Columbian Exposition and Dana allegedly coined the name as a derogatory moniker. Supposedly the term is not a reference to the winds off Lake Michigan as one might suppose, but rather refers to the Chicagoan habit of rabid boosterism and shameless boasting. To a New Yorker like Dana, Chicago was full of hot air.

The story simply isn't true. The name dates to at least 1885, and clearly refers to the breezes off the lake. 1885 references include "city of winds" as well as "Windy City." This isn't new information either. Mathew's Dictionary of Americanisms, published some 50 years ago, includes an 1887 quotation of "Windy City, but the myth persists--largely due to newspaper reporters and editors who repeat the tale without checking the facts."

from http://www.wordorigins.org/wordorw.htm

Personally speaking, I think anyone who's ever gone to Buffalo, NY, will tell you that that city is way windier.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2005-01-07 04:48 pm (UTC)
So my debunked urban myth was an urban myth? My head hurts now. [g]
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[User Picture]From: justbeast
2005-01-07 05:59 pm (UTC)
*laughs*
Your umbrella-fu is most impressive.
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[User Picture]From: scathedobsidian
2005-01-13 04:09 am (UTC)
Yeah, I see a lot of that too.
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