Streets of rain
 
On a dusty, arid island like ours, rain is always welcome. We need the dams to fill, the dust to be washed away, the air to clear, the soil to soak up water.
 
I think rain is always welcome, unless I in a hurry to get somewhere and stuck inside waiting for it to stop so I can run to my car. Or unless I am driving.
 
The rain fell long and hard on Limassol last weekend. Ayias Phylaxeos street, like many others, became a stream. In some cases, driving down it, I had to guess where the pavement was. Water splashing upwards as my wheels rolled through the puddles licked the sides of my car. A fire engine blaring its siren tried to make it through the muddle of cars behind me. I tried to make way and the fire truck raced past me, with a couple of other cars trailing in its wake through the red lights.
 
When time the rain had stopped completely, people began coming out of their houses and offices, like snails from their shells, brandishing brooms, trying to clear the leaves, the plastic bags, and the packets of cigarettes and bits of paper from the grates so that the rainwater could drain through.
 
A man trying to turn right blocked the road behind me and was censured with a cacophony of car horns. I finally managed to turn left at the lights and drove on.
 
I heard later when I was home, safe and dry, that four municipal vehicles were sent out last Friday evening to deal with the mess. The fire department received over 70 calls that evening.
 
The rain, though so welcome, tends to bring tremendous problems when it finally arrives. Our streets become waterlogged and little streams make little waterfalls as the rainwater cascades down to the sea. Garages become flooded, people are stuck in lifts, cars break down.
 
The next day, however, the sun will always come out, the sky will clear up, the leaves will shine and the smell of fresh, wet soil and grass will be in the air. And all will be well with the world. Until it rains again.

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