Being a person who has lived a somewhat nomadic existence, I tend to be very sensitive to what other people are doing around me, or not doing as the case may be. I tend to be rather profoundly individualistic and very stubborn about certain particular matters, but when it comes to inessential behaviors I tend to be strongly influenced by the behavior of those around me, not least because it has provided me with a way to step beyond my usually rather confined and restricted habits of behavior. I suppose, in my own unusual fashion, that a great deal of the reputation I have for being a daring person comes from my history of travel that has opened up new vistas of thought and reflection. It is for this reason that I tend to rejoice when my friends get the chance to travel, because they too can profit, if they are observant and sensitive to those around them, from the experiences of seeing how other people live.
One of the quirks I noticed when I moved to the Pacific Northwest is that although the climate is pretty rainy, no one except for tourists really uses an umbrella here. There are probably a few reasons for that. One of them, at least, is that the rain here tends to be gentle (for the most part), making it rather pointless to use an umbrella for the little amount of rain that we get at a time. There also appear to be other reasons why people do not tend to use umbrellas at all here. For one, there appears to be a sort of pride that one has that one can deal with getting a little wet without needing an umbrella, making it more rugged to be able to live without an umbrella, looking down on those who carry umbrellas as sissies. I don’t think I have ever heard it stated precisely that way, but given the sort of disdain that people around here view carrying around umbrellas, that would appear to be the case, and I have never been tempted to go out and buy one myself here either.
The reason I mention this, of course, is that today I happened to receive a bag of corporate swag, and included in that bag was a company umbrella. Those of us who had been with the company for more than three months received an umbrella in addition to what everyone received—a couple of company pens, a teacup with a spoon attached, and a mug. I was not the only person to ponder why it is that we received an umbrella given the local climate about such things. Who knows who made such decisions—obviously, it is not someone who is very sensitive to local culture, perhaps even someone who is not familiar with the lack of interest that those in the Pacific Northwest have in umbrellas, because the same sentiment appears to apply among my friends across the river in Washington as well. At any rate, while I can see quite a bit of use for most of the swag, but alas, the umbrella is even too small for me to use as a cane when I hobble about sometimes as is my fashion. Now I shall have to figure out how to justify its presence and find some use for it .
 See, for example: