As a shared thoroughfare, the city sidewalk works best when its users maintain an acute awareness of their surroundings. This should involve recognition of fellow flaneurs, nearby vehicles, and the general pace of pedestrian traffic. There is an iffy yielding system. While it seems like organized chaos, there are rules to the side of the road.

Possibly the biggest threat to sidewalk flow, besides SUV-sized double-wide strollers, is the phone. The phone which causes people to abruptly stop to text. Or unpredictably slow down whilst reading an email. Or rapidly spin-around as their Google Map compass makes them aware they were heading the wrong direction, as we've all lost our hippocampi.

The other long-time enemy of sidewalk traffic is the umbrella. Rather than just paying attention to foot-traffic, there is a large and drippy halo fighting for air space above everyone's heads. Also, sometimes the ribs are spiky and metallic eye-level weapons. Unlike the phone, the umbrella is an arguable necessity in times of precipitation, unless its golf umbrella sized, in which case, take it to a field.

Ignoring the possible consequences of their invention, a company has combined both of these hazards. Brolly has taken a drunk-level idea and turned it into a real thing. It's an umbrella that allows you to text and deter downpours as you idle on down the sidewalk in a protected bubble of insularity.

Here's what Brolly promises:

"The finger hole area is lined with a squeezable material that makes squeezing your umbrella rib something you will have a blast doing. And most importantly, by having your fingers free, you can text or email in the rain, which is something no other umbrella can claim."

Also, the Brolly promotional video has a hilarious sequence demonstrating the "difficulty" of life without this new, revolutionary product. The umbrella comes in blue, black, green, and obnoxious.

[Image via Eugen Shevchenko/Shutterstock]

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