Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Umbrella Dilemma

With the onset of the monsoons, I'm faced with that old problem that I like to call The Umbrella Dilemma:

When you are walking down the street, and it is just beginning to drizzle a little, when exactly is it the right time to open your umbrella?

I hate a slight drizzle, because it confuses me. Should I open my umbrella or not? In heavy rain, I know I have to take shelter under some awning until it subsides. In normal rain, I know that I have to open my umbrella and continue walking. What do I do when it's just barely drizzling?

I have two choices.

1. I open my umbrella. This choice involves the extra effort required to open the umbrella and then hold it above me as I walk. It also risks me ending up looking quite stupid for holding an open umbrella over my head when it isn't really raining.

2. I do not open my umbrella. This choice involves my getting wet.

Like most other dilemmas in life, I would solve this one by the simple expedient of copying what others do. I don't open my umbrella until see other people opening theirs. I realized the folly in this plan when I arrived home one night soaking wet, umbrella unopened in hand, because I hadn't crossed anyone else on the street. Since there was no one else about, I hadn't seen anyone open his or her umbrella and hence hadn't opened mine.

That's when I decided that my strategy needed a little backing up with what I would call "using one's commonsense". Now I just open my brolly the minute the smallest globule of hydration lands on me. I often end up looking like a fool walking down the street, umbrella open, when it's not raining, but it is a small price to pay.

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