I am currently taking shelter in the Omonia metro station as hail beats down on the escalators and water rivulets begin to flood the space at the bottom of the stairs. The “caution: wet floor” sign does not do it justice.
I am surrounded by locals and tourists who are either watching the sudden hailstorm with a combination of amazement and annoyance, filming it on their phone, or bravely charging up the escalator to run to their destination. One woman takes a look at one of the ice-cube sized pellets at my feet and makes a gesture of prayer.
Less than half an hour ago I was leisurely walking through tourist shops with Hsiang-Yu under sunny skies. How quickly things change.
It’s reminiscent of a time two summers ago when my parents were visiting Boston. I wanted to take my mom to try her first bubble tea, which would have been a five-minute walk from where we were having lunch. As soon as we started walking, however, it began to hail. We took shelter next to a nearby nail salon and my dad literally had to cover my arms and face to protect me from the pounding hail and strong winds. It was brief but terrifying. Afterwards, we had to go the mall and buy replacements for our soaked clothes because the hotel was too far away to go back.
My parents have not yet arrived in Athens, so I am alone in the metro station. I do not feel scared or lonely, though, as I am surrounded by others who are having the same experience. It is strange to share this moment with strangers who I will probably never meet, but it is also nice to know that I am not alone.
I can relate to the fury of sudden storms because sometimes my emotions change in ways I have difficulty controlling. One minute everything is fine; the next I feel like a terrible person. It’s not unlike the sudden change in the weather. Sometimes my changes in sentimentality aren’t in the forecast, but happen anyway. Sometimes it hails when it’s only supposed to rain.
I can only take shelter inside this metro station for so long, just like I can only mope in my room for so long when I am upset. It is therefore time to join my fellow train riders in ascending the escalator into the next phase of the day. Despite sudden changes, we have no choice but to move forward.
Update: I am now safe in the lobby of our hotel.