by Erin Elaine
Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I’ve only owned 2 umbrellas in my life. The first I received as a gift as a teenager and used probably 3 times in my life. The second I received as a gift just before Occupy started last fall, and I used it very often simply because I spent an average of 2-4 hours outside every single day between mid-October and the beginning of January.
Most people in the Pacific Northwest don’t own umbrellas, partly because it usually lightly sprinkles for days on end rather than pouring, and partly because we’ve become so accustomed to the rain that we don’t really mind being wet.
When I came to Madrid, I didn’t consider buying an umbrella because the climate here is dry. It might rain once in a while, but it didn’t seem worth buying an umbrella.
This morning it was sprinkling as I walked to the metro. Once I got off the metro in Getafe, it was pouring cats and dogs. In the 4 minutes it took me to walk to my school, I was completely drenched through. My coat isn’t waterproof. I was absolutely sopping wet, I looked like I had just jumped in a lake.
That day the roof of one of the buildings also began to leak. There is no money in Spain right now, so it won’t be fixed. They didn’t call repairmen, they got buckets and mops.
On the way home, I bought an umbrella for 5€ ($6.43). There were umbrellas for 3€ and 1€, but I didn’t trust them. Now I know why everyone can afford an umbrella that they use two or three times per year.