Woman with giant umbrella blocks traffic in all directions, injures 4
TORONTO, ON—Downtown traffic came to a standstill at the intersection of King and Church on Wednesday, as pedestrian Martha Pingle took to the sidewalk with her unwieldy umbrella.
The umbrella, measuring approximately 18 metres in diameter when open, stretched across all lanes of traffic, preventing vehicles from moving and reportedly scratching the roofs of at least nine SUVs and passenger vans.
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"I'm as dry as a whistle," Pingle, 38, said in a presumed confusion of idioms. "I bought this brolly at Canadian Tire four years ago and haven't had to endure the horrors of moisture since."
Research showed Pingle's umbrella is meant to be part of a patio set.
Jacob Marino suffered minor injuries when the umbrella's wire undercarriage got caught in his man bun and ripped it off his head.
"Growing that silky bun was a two-year project for me," said Marino, 27, who was wearing a fedora to cover his temporary bald spot. "That horrid woman didn't even stop to apologize. I'm lying in a puddle screaming and she's just strolling along without a care like goddamned Gene Kelly."
Sleep Country Canada franchise owner Benny Chung commented while he was outside his shop sweeping up glass from a front window he said was broken in the incident.
"That umbrella caused two thousand dollars in damages," Chung said. "Not to mention loss of business. Look—there's no one in my store right now. This place is usually packed with mattress enthusiasts."
He then wiped a tear from his cheek and gestured to a bed sheet covering a heap on the sidewalk.
"One of her umbrella spokes stabbed our inflatable dancing tube man. He died instantly. This is, like, The Penguin–level evil shit."
Pingle said she should not be held responsible for her umbrella's actions and that she has not broken any laws. "As people say, I keep my nose dry."
Research showed no one says that.
But this is not the first time precipitation has landed Pingle in hot water. She wreaked havoc on her neighbourhood one rainy week last April, when her umbrella caused four similar traffic delays and then took out a woman's eye.
Fortunately, the woman had already lost her eye three years previous in a knitting needle accident at a craft sale, and had had it replaced with a glass eye. After this was dislodged by the umbrella, she was able to quickly retrieve it and pop it back into its socket without going to hospital.
Wednesday's light rainfall also saw traffic disruptions in the city's east end, where the driver of a Dodge Viper blocked three lanes of traffic after attaching an outdoor canopy tent to his vehicle to protect it from the rain.
The car was last seen travelling at high speeds, splashing pedestrians and blasting Blind Melon.
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