The biggest downpour I've ever seen, and I'm looking out of my window as I type this and there's a man with an umbrella on the absolute edge of the terrace next door, climbing up a ladder to look around ... what? What use is the umbrella?
But the biggest downpour calls for something out of the ordinary. So I set out -- shorts, Tshirt, sandals, that's it -- down the suddenly riverine road. Certainly unusual -- I haven't done this since ... last year.
But it's just as much a thrill as it was then, and even more, because the rain is coming down much harder, stinging into my face as I strain against the water, the wind, and stagger through the rushing gushing flood out to the seafront nearby. Cars are stuck, one has its window down and the woman in the drivers' seat gestures helplessly, but somehow also happily, to indicate she can't go any further. Rickshaws are stuck, one driver gets out and starts pulling his machine upriver, away from the seafront drive. It's hard going, even when I help him. Or perhaps because I help him...
And all the while, the greyness is complete -- funny how you say that about the night and blackness, but today it's so true of the storm. This is a symphony in grey: water, sea, sky, rain, shadowy figures with all colour effaced coming towards you, a flash of white as they smile when close. Yes, everyone smiles at everyone else, it's grey but it's an infectiously happy time. Smile like we're all in a shared bit of drenching, stinging euphoria, which we are.
I stand on the road divider in the middle of Carter Road and look towards the promenade on the seafront. The water is nearly up to the top of the 3-foot parapet that separates it from the road, and this means we have a virtual swimming pool, and this means several boys lose no time in stripping off, struggling onto the parapet, and executing swirling, twisting, leaping dives into the water. A SUV barrels through the water, setting off a wave that nearly topples the guys off their parapet hold, but even this is cause for guffaws, grey as they are.
I'm dry now, 15 minutes after returning home. But I want to go back out again.