Melbourne’s known for its crazy, unpredictable weather. But it seems whenever we’re hit with a major storm, Melburnians etiquette goes right out the window. It needs to stop. Here are some etiquette rules to follow when it rains in Melbourne.
1. Don’t shake your umbrella at people
Get the excess water off by all means, but don’t spray someone in the face like you’re a dirty dog on bath day, and be careful where your umbrella is dripping. It could be on the ground, or it could be on someone else’s shoes.
2. Do not steal from the umbrella bucket
This is an honour system. No one likes a drippy, slippery floor so we all agree to leave our rain barriers at the door and only leave with the crappy folding black one we arrived with, not that fetching one with the Museum of Modern Art masterpiece on it.
3. You either have to go high or low with your umbrella
All umbrellas can’t stay at head height on footpaths – they won’t fit. Someone needs to go high in a crowd, and someone needs to go low, and you should pick a height early so everyone can adapt smoothly around you. Also, the tallest person in a sharing situation holds the umbrella, them's the rules.
4. Don’t hog the awnings
If you have a brolly, walk on the rainy side and leave the awning protection for less well-prepared people. In particular, do not force anyone to walk along the drip zone – those chubby droplets right down your collar are unpleasant.
5. Move with purpose on public transport
People want to get off fast but also get on just as quickly to get out of the weather. Now is not the time for dilly-dallying by the doors. Sort your shit before your stop arrives and don’t scramble for your Myki only once you reach the doors. Have it ready to go when you get to the Myki reader.
6. Invest in a better umbrella
Just from a sheer wastage perspective, buying the same shit $10 umbrella each time it rains is not the go. Get a good one, one that won’t turn inside out, one in an eye-catching colour so cars don’t hit you. The sad umbrella graveyards in the city’s bins is not a good use of resources.
7. Accept that your food delivery will be late
Do you know what every single other office worker is thinking when it starts bucketing down at 11am? “How do I get my lunch without getting wet?”. If you genuinely can’t face the weather, remember that delivery services are getting slammed with orders from people just like you, and so you can either get your own food or accept that it’ll be an hour later than you hope. Those are your options, and there’s no point getting snarky with the person who did brave the downpour to bring you ramen/pizza/Thai food.
8. Slow down through those gutter rivers
Yes, we’re all in a hurry, but sending a tidal wave of swampy gutter water over unsuspecting pedestrians is as douchey a move as it gets. Don’t be the villain in this story, safe and dry in your car.
9. Spare a thought for people sleeping rough
Hard weather hits our most vulnerable populations the hardest, so since you’re stuck inside maybe it’s worth going through your cupboards and seeing what warm gear you could donate to homelessness charities and support services.
10. Don’t wear thongs
We know they’re waterproof, but the squelching noise is deeply unpleasant and you’ll end up with splash-back all the way up to your shoulder blades.
11. If it’s flash flooding, make a decision…. fast
You have two options if the roads start filling up like the Titanic. 1) Don’t dilly dally. Move fast and get to your destination as quickly (and as safely) as possible. Or 2) Wait it out. The rain will stop (it’s Melbourne, after all) or it will at least ease enough so that the gutters can catch their breath and start draining that street water down the pipes.
12. Don’t be the person who loses a shoe in the raging flood
You’ll be sad. Everyone around you will be sad. And that shoe will just float on down Elizabeth Street, with no qualms at all, merrily making its way down to the Flinders Street Station subway where it will live, unperturbed by anyone, bar the mice, for months on end until some poor sod has to chuck it in the trash.
So please, don’t go walking in those flash-flood waters.