So, Seattleite, you bought an umbrella…

So you bought an umbrella, nice job, Seattlite! I know, new concept. It’s now become a necessary accessory as the water protective coat has lost its repellent qualities.

Now, let’s talk about proper courtesy and use. You need it. You are new to it. Here is some helpful guidance:

On the bus, never put your umbrella on the seat next to you. Why? Just give it a moments thought.

When exiting the bus don’t stop in the front of the door and work your shit out with your umbrella. Your hair will survive the 30 seconds on the sidewalk.


To begin with, just like revolving doors and escalators, there is an implied social contract. You exist with other people.

With an umbrella, you are wider than you actually are. Don’t forget this. You could poke an eye out with that thing.

If there is a covered walkway, and it’s busy, walk in the rain. Let the folks in their parkas stay dry for a while. Using an umbrella on a covered walkway is akin to, well, I don’t know what, but it’s decadent in an offensive way.

Umbrellas allow you to have one hand free. Don’t look at your phone unless you are stationary. YOU CAN’T HANDLE THIS TYPE OF MULTI-TASKING. You think you can… but you can’t.

Don’t pull your umbrella down so far that people can’t make eye contact. Sure, it’s the Seattle way to be a bit aloof, but barreling through a crowd with your umbrella, head down, is a jerk move. Social contract, blah blah blah.

Give up on using your umbrella at 3rd and Seneca. It’s the windiest corner in Seattle, even on the calmest of days. I love it there, feeling the wind tousle what’s left of my hair. Your umbrella will not last there, and wrangling your umbrella puts you at risk to both your equipment and your fellow sidewalk-mates. Pro tip — on windy days, this corner provides endless entertainment if you sit in the window of the salad bar place or JJ’s.

When passing folks also using an an umbrella, make eye contact and go low or high. Bumper umbrellas is not a sport (despite what the internet says). It’s rude and dangerous.

Sorry for the negative tone on this message. I am a new umbrella user myself and have had to learn by trial and error. Either get this stuff figured out, or buy yourself a new waterproof jacket.

Stay dry,
Chris Wells
(Most of you won’t read this far into my tome. If you do, and you feel compelled, please PayPal me at

{originally posted to my FB page}