OK Seattle, If You Must Use an Umbrella Let's Set a Few Ground Rules

What’s the proper way to use an umbrella in a city whose number one claim to fame is rain?
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Last year’s rainy “season” was one of the city’s wettest on record. With this year’s wet months about to begin, we gear up for the annual awkward follies of windblown, inside-out umbrellas, sidewalk turf wars and ’brella-spreading on public transportation. Seattle magazine staff—despite the ongoing debate as to whether “real” Seattleites use umbrellas—offer these essential survival tips on how to stay dry, politely, while toting protection against the elements.

1. Get on the Bus
Don’t be an “assenger” on the light rail or Metro and let your wet umbrella drip on fellow riders. Use a folding umbrella and stash it in a small waterproof bag or under your seat, behind your feet, parallel to the length of the car. Also, shake as much water off as you can before you get on the bus.

2. Sidewalk Talk
As a courtesy to fellow pedestrian commuters, leave the oversize golf umbrella on the course and use a retractable, personal-size one instead. Totes and Marimekko make practical but stylish ones. 

3. Don’t Double Up
On a rainy day, building awnings are for those braving the elements sans umbrella, so if you have one, don’t take up precious space under cover. Make way when walking down the street.

4. Stand Out in the Crowd
Be mindful of your height when passing someone else with an umbrella. If you’re tall, lift yours high to avoid snagging others—if you’re short, go low.

5. Keep it Real
Whatever you do, regardless of whether you carry an umbrella or not, do not call it a bumbershoot.

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