Zippers and Umbrellas

Perhaps two of the most simple and primary inventions of the human kind – just after the wheel and sliced bread – and I’ve mastered neither of them! The wheel didn’t take me very long.  And I enjoy a nice slice of sourdough with the rest of them.  But why I can’t seem to zip up my jacket on the first try hardly ever; and why umbrellas are nearly disposable to me, is something that as a highly overachieving individual, I’m completely baffled by.

I believe it’s the “bottom stop” that gives me the most trouble overall.  Surely any kindergartner knows they need to make sure the slider is touching the bottom stop to align the zipper.  Is it my impatience?  How come I so often find myself zipping only one side of the contraption.  Or better, the bottom stop is bent at an angle so that I now have a gap above and below the slider.  Or best, I can maneuver the slider all the way to the top and find that neither side was adhered to the other.  That’s usually when I tear the jacket open and buy a new one.

And if zippers weren’t hard enough – umbrellas, really?  In the last few years I recently mastered neatly recomposing the umbrella into its near original cylindrical form.  I’ve found that if you wind the umbrella tightly in your hand while you use the Velcro fastener to close it, you can just about replicate the shape it came in when you first purchased it.   But getting the umbrella to stay closed?  Sometimes this part takes me ten minutes.  Or better, how do I prevent the spokes from detaching themselves from the fabric?  Or best, how do I prevent myself from ritualistically leaving the umbrella behind at the coffee shop one out of every three times I use it?  It’s often raining when I get to the coffee shop, but not when I leave.  That’s my souvenir for the next person who sits in my seat. 

I realize these are skills usually mastered by humans in their single digits, but somehow both of these tools continue to perplex me.  You can assume that a zippered rain jacket is not a particularly useful gift for me.

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