It happened again this morning. It was pouring rain out. I have to walk about 4 blocks from the parking garage to where I work. It had been raining a LOT lately. I had on boots and my jacket with a hood pulled over my hair to keep it from getting wet. Several people walking near me kindly offered to share their umbrellas with me. I politely declined. You see, I have a real phobia about umbrellas. Not much in this world scares me, (I have 5 kids after all.) I was not afraid of sharks after seeing Jaws. I was not afraid of snakes after seeing Anaconda and Snakes on a Plane. But put an umbrella near me and my knees begin to shake and I go pale. (I hate the video of Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain!)
This fear dates back to my childhood. I don’t know how or why, but I got the fear that I was going to be poked in the eye with one of those little knobby things on the spokes at the end of the umbrella. Getting wet in the harshest downpour could not compare to the fear of getting poked in the eye, so I would never use an umbrella. Of course, as I grew, I have realized that this fear is slightly irrational.
When my son, Francis, was going to Cambridge University in England, he took my mother and me on a guided tour of London. Being London, it was raining of course. Francis and my mom had umbrellas, I chose to get wet. No big deal. What’s a little water? Anyway, we were in front of Buckingham Palace and Francis wanted to get a picture of my mom and me. She and I put our arms around each other and smiled for the picture. He took the picture JUST as SHE POKED ME IN THE EYE with her UMBRELLA! It is incredible to have my worst fear captured in a picture. The good news is, my eye stayed intact in my eye socket and didn’t really get poked out. The bad news is, I still have my fear of umbrellas….