The quality of things

I bought a very stylish, grey vintage (probably 1950s-60s) umbrella from the Arkonaplatz flea market in Berlin. Although I much dislike rain and especially walking in it, I have a strange affection for umbrellas and have quite a few of them. Well, anyway, I couldn’t resist this one, it was so lightweight, lean and slender and in perfect working order. Like something out of “Les Parapluies de Cherbourg”. I had also imagined that it would fit in my suitcase, no hassle. Well, of course it didn’t and I must admit it soon became rather a nuisance to drag along in my baggage.

In France I decided to make my life a little easier and post the umbrella to myself to Helsinki. I created a rather suspicious looking parcel using the cardboard from a shoe box and about one kilometer of brown tape (I swear, the damn thing looked like a nicely wrapped shotgun!) and sent it on its way, hoping for the best.

A couple of weeks later when I’m already back home, my package finally arrives. I open it up and alas! The umbrella is BENT! Tears are almost about to roll down my cheeks but I bite my lip, grab the umbrella and carefully bend it back in shape, only to notice that despite this ordeal my beautiful vintage accessory is completely unharmed, uncracked, just perfect. I can’t help but think that a modern version of it would have snapped broken in a second. In my previous job I handled and sold enough umbrellas to know exactly how easily they break. And that’s just one simple example of the way things are these days. In the old times so many things weren’t only more beautiful (in my opinion), they were also better and made to last.

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