#TBT: The World’s Biggest Umbrella

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Going on runs at Conan wasn’t always so bad. If it was a nice day out I used to enjoy the fresh air, a long walk, and some time away from the chaos of a late night talk show. It’s a lot like going on vacation–you don’t realize how much you love coming home till you’ve gotten away for a while.

When the weather was bad, well…that was a different story. Since the show couldn’t really afford to send us anywhere in cabs (unless there was the report of a monsoon complete with sleeting rain and hurricane winds, or an apocalypse), we were expected to walk/take the subway whenever possible. Even if it was pouring rain.

But then we learned about The World’s Biggest Umbrella. That’s when runs in the rain got a lot more fun.

It was kept tucked under the haphazard pile of the girls’ purses, next to the receptionist’s desk. There was only the one, so we tried to stagger runs in the rain till the intern with The Umbrella came back for the next intern to use it.

Now, everyone knows about umbrella etiquette–when you’re walking the streets and you have to hold the umbrella up high when passing short people, crouch low when passing tall people, and gracefully go side to side to potentially avoid anyone we can’t see peripherally. From anyone watching from their high-rise apartment it must look like some awkward waltz. A dance of umbrellas, if you will.

This monstrosity of an umbrella made that etiquette VERY difficult. Still, I expected to be forgiven. I imagined getting looks of awe, followed by shouts of “where’d you get that amazing thing?!” to which I’d smile and reply casually over my shoulder, “I’m a Conan intern!”

Instead, I really only ever got a lot of extremely angry looks from people (and sometimes the finger), since I couldn’t manuever it without actually hitting someone else’s umbrella. Or someone in the face.

During the last week of shows we found out one of our intern parting gifts was our very own giant Conan Umbrella. The night I brought it home, I excitedly took pictures of it in an attempt to capture its size. I know it’s bad luck to open these in the house, but I already got cursed out by every passerby in the city when I popped them in the face with it, so, technically, this umbrella owes me good luck.

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(random bonus: since I took this pic right after coming home from work you can also see my intern badge. And bracelets. And chapstick.)

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And here’s what it looks like open. It’s hard to see accurate scale from a pic, but just to give some perspective, my older brother is actually underneath it.

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It’s easy to see why all of Manhattan hated me on rainy days from January 2008-February 2009.