Yesterday was the last day of a seemingly never-ending streak of rainy days. I had a lot of time to kill before work so I decided to go to Xinbeitou to study. I got on the train to Xinbeitou which is a small branch line that connects Beitou Station (pictured above) with Xinbeitou Station. When I boarded the train at Beitou Station, I hung my umbrella on the small piece of metal which attaches the vertical handrail to the protective glass next to the door.
There were very few people riding the train, so I believed I had the entire three-seat row (pictured above) to myself. I sat two seats from my umbrella, with my backpack occupying the middle seat. I attempted a Taiwanese Power Nap, which involves sleeping in unnatural positions for between 5-20 minutes (in my experience, these are usually accompanied by hypnagogic hallucinations or waking up having drooled all over myself).
When I opened my eyes after my failed attempt to power nap I noticed the seat closest to my umbrella was taken by a woman in her early thirties dressed like a librarian. I noticed that she hung her umbrella next to mine. I don’t know if she knew I could see her or not, but out of the corner of my eye I saw her pick up my umbrella and begin to inspect it: She was holding it up, feeling the handle, and checking the quality of the release button. Once she was done, she placed it back where it was before. No big deal, maybe she wanted one like it but was too afraid to ask where I bought it.
When we reached Xinbeitou my tired mind could hardly comprehend what had happened next: She picked up her cheap, old umbrella and mine and walked off without even looking back to perhaps see if I was the owner. I didn’t have an umbrella in my hand so the one hanging obviously belonged to me, how else would I be dry in this pouring rain? I really didn’t know how to confront her… I felt like grabbing my umbrella from her and striking her with it, but sensibility set in and I decided to follow her to see if she was going to drop it off to a station manager to put it in the lost and found. I was walking directly behind her, almost stepping on her heels, for some reason she was oblivious to a 192 cm foreigner lurking behind. When it became obvious that she was walking towards the restroom and not the station manager I spoke up very politely, “對不起！小姐！那是我的雨傘 (Excuse me! Miss! That is my umbrella).” She was slow to turn around, she very slowly extended her arm that was carrying my umbrella… she stood in silence, stared blankly, and didn’t speak a word… which is probably for the best, had she spoken I may have been forced to feed it to her.
It’s been more than 24 hours and I am having trouble erasing the giant WTF cloud that is floating in my head.