These youngsters make their way home as heavy rains flooded parts of the island last week. - Rudolph Brown/Chief Photographer
The rains started coming down really hard by now and the road started looking more like a river than anything else. A young man wearing a pair of khaki trousers and a black plastic bag on his head was walking on the sidewalk. He wasn't wearing any shoes and his pants were rolled up to his knees. As the rain got harder, he was having obvious difficulty seeing where he was going, so he bumped into more than a handful of street signs and light posts before he disappeared around a corner and out of my sight. I was standing in the only dry spot that I could find, under a shed just outside the community post office. As the rain pelted the heart of Spanish Town in St. Catherine, I, and a few other shelter seekers, waited anxiously for it to subside.
Now, being trapped in a tight spot with nearly a dozen other persons, all equally annoyed at the circumstances, was not the way I had planned to spend my Friday morning, but as I looked around at the faces of those around me, I realised that I wasn't the only one who wasn't having any fun.
I was standing there no longer than five minutes before I noticed a tall, skinny man standing next to me. He cleared his throat then started to rub his nostrils with alarming intensity.
"Achoo! Achoo!" The man's sneeze caught me off guard. "Achoo!" This went on for a good 30 seconds before a woman standing just in front of him in the tight quarters, spoke up.
"Lawd man! You a go sick off di whole a we! Mek yuh nuh cova yuh mouth?" she shouted.
"A true man! You come a sneeze down di whole place. A wah do yuh?" said a man with hairy ears standing beside the sneezer.
The sneezer now looked very annoyed and cleared his throat before speaking up. "Den wah mi fi do? Mi caan stop di sneeze from come. Di whole a yuh a idiot!" he retorted.
This was perhaps not the best move as the mob, consisting of about nine people, now turned on the sneezer. "Go weh!", "Move from yah so!", "Come a sneeze down di place!", "Go sneeze pan you woman!" were just some of the attacks thrown his way. The sneezer was obviously outnumbered and smartly decided against giving an answer.
As the rains continued, we stood there in silence, looking out and waiting for our chance to make a move.
A man ahead of us, who had no umbrella or rain coat and so was soaked from head to toe, was about to cross over a puddle.
"Watch dis yah idiot now!" said the sneezer. The man who was about to cross the puddle rolled his pants up to his knees, then made a giant leap over the puddle. "Splash!" Sure enough, the man landed right in the midst of the giant puddle and splashed muddy water all over his pants and the back of his shirt.
This sent the group I was sheltering with into a frenzy. "Whoi! Hee Hee! What a jackass!" they shouted, jeering the man until he disappeared into a nearby building with an embarrassed look on his face.
Still, the rain poured with tremendous force and the wind, which had picked up significantly, started to blow it into our dry spot.
A little old lady wearing thick framed spectacles, started to complain. "Cho baddament inna di day yah! Mi caan tek nuh wet up tiday you know. Next ting mi go ketch fever," she said.
"Mummy, nuh badda rise yuh pressure. Di rain soon stop," said a short man beside her.
"Alright child," she said. The rain really started to come down heavily now and the language of the marooned bunch started to get more colourful. A woman in a very short skirt let out a humdinger of an exclamation. The little old lady with the thick-framed spectacles poked the mini skirt wearing woman in the back. "Mind yuh mannas!" she said. The woman in the skirt looked embarrassed and remained quiet. The others in the group snickered quietly.
About 15 minutes later, the rain started to ease a bit and the first brave soul in the bunch decided to venture out.
It was the sneezer, and he tip-toed his way out of the shelter, then walked more easily when he realised that the rain had pretty much stopped.
Then it was the little old lady in the thick-framed spectacles. She moved more slowly and complained about being cold as she walked away. The mini-skirt wearing woman walked out next. She walked quickly and held a news-paper over her head. I moved next and only glanced behind me once to see the man with the hairy ears step into a puddle as he left the shelter.