High Wind

Angry FaceSeeing an umbrella take flight in the 40-50 mph winds blowing through Merced on that November Wednesday was not a surprise.

Trees were stripped of their leaves. Shingles were blown off roofs. Property owners had to rake their lawns, covered by debris. So it was only logical that an umbrella would join the aerobatics.

The umbrella had been roosting above a table and chairs sitting outside a local coffee shop. It landed in the westbound lane of a busy street and forced a large pickup truck to screech to a stop in the intersection.

The driver of the truck grimaced. A car that was following her veered to avoid hitting her truck. The umbrella was kissing her front bumper so she had only one choice—get out of the truck and move the obstacle.

She grabbed the umbrella and threw it to the curb. In just a couple more steps, she could have put the umbrella on the sidewalk in a safer place, but she didn’t. Had the store manager not come out to retrieve it, the umbrella would have been left in the roadway to be blown even farther into the oncoming traffic.

The driver’s reaction to the umbrella seemed over blown. Facial expression and gestures made her appear very angry—almost as if she believed the umbrella had specifically picked out her truck to stop. I imagined her blood pressure going up at that moment and her mood changing to something dark. All because of a single umbrella.

Going down the anger road is often like accelerating one’s car to a high speed. Control decreases as mass and momentum take over. Anger then speaks more loudly than reason.

I wanted to ask the driver if her little temper tantrum was going to help her have a better day. I doubt it.

I hope her facial expression was just mild irritation and that she was able to resume a sunny disposition. But her truck was moving awfully fast when she left the scene.