Raincoat: Indulgence or Necessity?

It’s fall, for real this time, which means decisions must be made

The Third Man

I just ordered my older kid, BG, a new pair of rain boots. She also needs a rain coat — perhaps a brightly colored one with a ladybug or a flower on it, like the one she outgrew last year — to go with her yellow umbrella.

BG will be autumn ready. I will not. My umbrella is whatever I pull out of the bin by the door. My rain boots are regular boots that leave my socks damp because they’re not actually waterproof. My rain coat? I don’t have a rain coat, even though whenever it rains — 121 days a year in New York City, or approximately one out of every three days — I wish I did. But it feels like an indulgence! A winter coat is a necessity, sure. A rain coat? For me? Isn’t that a frill?

Other people look so smart and snug, sashaying around the city in their rain gear. Mike, for example. He has a dark blue Hudson wax jacket from Penfield — “for life in the open” — and he said it keeps him so dry he doesn’t need an umbrella. Which is great, because an umbrella is destined to meet one of two fates: it breaks or it disappears. A good rain coat could last you, though. It could take you places. It could make you look like a woman out of a 1940s noir with a snub-nosed pistol hidden in her handbag.

A rain coat also beats an umbrella when you’re trying to push a stroller, since navigating strollers on city sidewalks requires the strength and coordination of two steady hands. Maybe if I had a rain coat, the real kind, with a hood, I would have an option during downpours besides crouching down over the stroller handles, walking as fast as possible, and muttering every curse word I know.

Or maybe I’m trying to talk myself into a frivolous purchase because I just want someone to look at me like Joseph Cotten looks at Alida Valli.

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