August 4th, 2008


(no subject)

I'm a little embarrassed to say this, but when I saw the first umbrella I was not delighted. Yes, it was brightly coloured and yes, the people underneath the umbrella were happy and friendly, but I was late for work and they were blocking the road. They seemed surprised and perhaps a little offended that I wanted to get past them, but they did move out of my car's way with little protest.

I was not delighted to see the umbrella, because joy should not create pain for others.

Then I rounded the corner and got to the big boulevard and I saw the rest of the umbrellas. Like Christo's umbrellas of '91, but a hundred different colors, all bold solid colors, all picnic umbrellas, all through the streets. A festival of umbrellas. It wasn't art -- it was entertainment.

I'm sure if you've checked the news at all today that you know the rest of the story. Umbrella picnics in the streets across the globe. All other activities and needs suspended for a day, streets closed except for emergencies. Laws and crime both canceled for the day, a moratorium on work and cost, just a day's worth of umbrella picnics. And how did they pull it off?

Now that I'm checking the news it makes sense. A network of angels declared it the day before. The motion was carried and called by robots and lions, rainclouds and snakes. Somehow I missed it in the papers, but the good news is someone had an umbrella and a basket of wine and fruit and cheese and little spicy sandwiches, just to lend me. Come on over to my picnic umbrella if you get bored of your own. Mine's turquoise-colored. We can share little sandwiches with the crusts torn off.

I'm now delighted by the vision of the umbrellas, but a little nervous too; it's hard to leave your own hustle behind.