The last two blocks to your subway entrance prove to be the most difficult of your commute today, as you find yourself confronted by a swarm of people.  These people have decided to head to the bus stop or hail a taxi in lieu of waiting for the delayed subway.  These people also have umbrellas, many of which have started to open.

As the raindrops begin to gain volume (in both decibel and size), you are reminded again of why your dislike of New York City in the rain trumps your love of the city at other times.  Sean would say, “It’s assets do not outweigh it’s liabilities, in this regard.”  Sean is always talking like that.  And in this case, you believe he is correct.  Getting wet is not the issue.  Nor is it the rat population that loves a good downpour to remind them that they, too, inhabit the Big Apple.  The reason you don’t like rain in New York is far more logistical than that, far more direct: You hate umbrellas.  You pride yourself on being someone who walks at a decent speed, and so you ordinarily have no problem passing someone on the sidewalk as you walk by.  If the person you’re passing has an umbrella, however, this can become a challenge as you maneuver past.  Additionally, you’re 5’10”.  If the umbrella-wielder is both slower and shorter than you, you have found that generally the spokes of their umbrella tend to match up to the level of your eye.  In fact, in the past, you’ve noticed the umbrella’s uncanny ability to get dangerously close to blinding you.

The only thing worse than a sidewalk full of people holding umbrellas (that are sometimes two-person umbrellas, or “golf umbrellas”) that you need to pass is a sidewalk full of people holding umbrellas that are all walking towards you.  Like a knight suiting up before a joust, you assess the advancing mob and pull your hood on.  You square your shoulders and make your way to the subway stairs, making sure to block your eyes from any umbrella-barbs and also making it a point to “shoulder ram” a few people who’s umbrellas are exceptionally large or cumbersome to avoid.

In what feels like no time, you descend the stairs to your subway and swipe your Metrocard at the exact moment that there is an incredibly large crack of thunder overhead.  Even before seeing the rainwater trickle in or ride the heels of other people, you know you missed the brunt of the storm in the nick of time.  You smile to yourself as you reswipe your Metrocard.  You stop smiling when you have to reswipe a few more times to get the machine to actually read the little magnetic strip that never seems to work.  Just as your card is (finally!) charged and you zip through the turnstyles do you hear the following:

“Attention, Passengers!  Due to an earlier incident, there will be limited service at this station and significant delays until further notice.  Thanks you for riding with MTA Transit, and have a safe day!”

It’s a crowded platform at this time of day, and everyone who just heard the announcement groans.  You stake out your place behind about four rows of people to wait for the next train to arrive.  You’ve only been waiting about five minutes or so when the person in front of you decides he’s had enough and turns around to leave the station.  “Fuck all this bullshit,” he grumbles as he shoves past you.  You quickly try to fill the gap he left when he vacated the floorspace that was ever-so-much closer to where the train would eventually be, when you realize he took your wallet. 

You frantically search your jacket, bag and other pockets in case you were mistaken.  You look behind you to see if you can place the wallet thief in the crowd.  Your brain then registers two things simultaneously:  The subway is, at long last, arriving; and the pickpocket has spryly exited the turnstyles and is making his way to the street.

If you turn on a heel to follow the man you believe has your wallet, click here.
If you decide to get on the subway and deal with the missing wallet when you get to work, click here.