Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

There is the umbrella. The umbrella lives under the passenger bucket seat and you pull it out at dawn in the spitting rain and roaring cold wind. Your only hope is that it opens and stays more or less together while you trudge your way across the vast tarmac parking lot at your work. If it does its job, you can arrive breathless and plop down in your soulless cubicle with a few square inches of almost dry clothing.

A parasol, on the other hand, is a completely different thing. Darts of flimsy tissue paper and delicate bamboo ribs – it was not made to stand the power of a howling gale. The gentle rays of the sun are all it can deal with – and barely that. It’s a translucent bumbershoot, a portable shade canopy, standing against the day. Its name tells you that it’s for (para) the sun (sol).

But it’s not only for protection. It’s for twirling.

What better attention grabber than a pretty parasol with hand drawn artistic designs carefully chosen to compliment your tattoos? Ink and ink.

I think of the sweaty hut in some faraway land with workers carefully, quickly, hopelessly putting the things together – cutting the paper, stapling the ribs, or brushing out long-practiced patterns across the delicate field – all the same yet each one different.

And here it comes, spinning down the middle of the street.

And all eyes turn.