UBC umbrella buying guideVancouver broke my morals and made me an umbrella thief

There’s a traditional poem my mother used to read to me. One that — as every great poem should — brought me joy in the moment and wisdom for the future.





Big head, big head

When it rains, I'm not scared

You have an umbrella

But I have a big head

And it was true. I never needed an umbrella back in my tiny village of Toronto, Ontario. My big head was sufficient to cover me from snow, hail and all sorts of precipitation.

Then I moved to Vancouver, and I realized that my big head was indeed very, very small. UBC a place of mind my ass.

Cut to two weeks later. I’m at every student’s favourite bookshop — the recycling bin behind Koerner Library — when I come across an old copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. An odd-looking piece of parchment falls out, folded into a palm-sized square and tinged yellow along the edges (from what, I don’t want to know). Whimsical music plays as I crack open the parchment, gasping in delight as I read:

How to Buy an Umbrella.

  1. Plan a pattern
  2. Unicorns riding space shuttles please
  3. Get a grip
  4. Duck handle, obvy!
  5. To invert or to not invert?
  6. Go to Shoppers Drug Mart
  7. Winners
  8. No Frills
  9. The convenience store
  10. UBC bookshop
  11. The umbrella store
  12. Amazon? I refuse to sell my privacy to an evil corporation for an umbrella
  13. DIY who are we kidding
  14. Steal

Was that it? Is this who Vancouver made me into? Was I to resort to common thievery?

No, said a voice in my head. This is not who I am and this is not who I will become. I will find other ways to stay dry.

Apparently the universe disagreed with me. As I opened Hitchhiker’s Guide to return the paper, I saw in clear lettering:

If you want to survive out here, you’ve got to know where your towel is.

Then it started raining on me.

I dragged my sopping life into Blue Chip, feeling bad for myself and hoping to find a sliver of comfort in a turkey brie cranberry sandwich.

That’s when I saw him.

A man. A fine man. But what was even finer was the umbrella poking out of his bag. The handle was shaped like a duck, and the fabric was patterned with unicorns riding spaceships. It was fate.

Does this man waiting for a double shot mocha latte really need this umbrella? Clearly he’s indoors and is doing just fine without it. Also, did your roommate go on a Tinder date with him? Maybe he’s a connection on LinkedIn. Well that doesn’t matter because if you just slyly stretch your hand forward, you can just about reach it and—





Big head, big head

When it rains, I'm not scared

You have a big head

But I have an umbrella

I’ve lost many things since coming to Vancouver, the biggest one being my ethics. But at least now I have an umbrella.