Monday, January 25, 2010

Cats and Dogs

It was a genuinely foul morning when I finally surfaced from a very deep sleep. Howling wind and rain, although a good ten degrees (F) warmer than at the weekend. It was... horrid, frankly.

Whenever it rains, I get a chance to experience how deeply cultural tics are embedded in me, despite not believing in or living by those things. It appears that Americans don't have - or, at least, do not abide by - the superstition that it's bad luck to have one's umbrella "up" indoors.* I know this because when walking along the corridor to pick up a coffee, I pass offices and coatrooms and storage spaces; on a rainy day, all of these places contain an up umbrella. I can't help flinching when I see them. I don't believe we have bad luck because of it, but the customs of home, which include taking down your umbrella indoors, seem to stick, even though I don't think you'd get bad luck at home. It's just not what one does at home. And that instinct has stuck with me. Not surprising, really, but it is strange when and where these instincts, built up at home, strike.

* I can't find anything on line to suggest that this is a truth about all of the US, but I do believe you would never see open umbrellas in a London office, and I never did while at home.

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