Doris, a wakeup call?

By Aimone – Head of Editorial

Doris took us by storm on Thursday the 23rd of February; dominating the front page of every newspaper in the UK for the disaster and distress it caused.

Up to 94mph winds, power cuts and flooding are just a handful of terrible events that storm Doris triggered. It has been said that the storm has left the UK and is heading towards continental Europe, nevertheless the struggle is not over for the UK as temperatures continue falling as low as -4 degrees.

Doris wrecked havoc in people’s lives for a day and will continue causing disruption for another week or so, but it changed some people’s lives for the better too. Here is why I think Doris was a blessing in disguise.

A standard journey from Hatfield to Leicester is meant to take a maximum of two hours. Instead, after four trains and a desperate shared taxi ride, I arrived five hours later than planned. When the news of the storm started circulating in Hatfield station, no one thought it was going to affect us that much, at the end of the day, it was just wind right? We couldn’t have been more wrong.

Flooding in wales, picture from Wikimedia 

Our high spirits were crushed after the first 25 minutes of our journey as the train stopped for around an hour in the middle of nowhere, with no phone signal. People lost patience, the frustration was felt all around as everyone had somewhere to be, but as we realise that this stop will be the first of many, people start looking up their phone to reach out to their neighbour and have a chat.

As a foreigner, you learn three things about the English, they do not like confrontation, they never skip tea o’clock (no fixed time just anytime they fancy the brew), and last but not least they hate commuting chatter. Needless to say when my neighbour took her eyes off the logo game to start a conversation with me, I was a bit shocked!

Throughout all these years, we have learned to communicate through different means,technology being our main tool. out use of technology day in and day out sparks the infamous debate:  does technology make us closer to each other or even further apart? To experience a carriage full of strangers in conversations was something I have never seen before. Every social barrier was broken as a pastor spoke to a homeless man and offered him shelter at the end of the journey and a mother of three was being given food for her children and a baby was calmed down by an elderly women who had 5 children herself.  

It’s a strange feeling to be stuck in the middle of nowhere sat on a train that tips from side to side at every blowing wind, insecurity and fear don’t really cover it. The more we ventured up the midlands, the worse it got but there was no way back.

As I jumped on my last train, relief flooded through me as the thought of arriving safely was no longer a hope but a reality. Everyone was relieved and chatting to one another about their survival skills and dramatising what had happened to them (as humans do). But as a child pointed to the window, the carriage just stopped and looked out to see the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen in my life. We all knew we shared something in common and that today taught us to be grateful for what we have and who we have around us.

                                           Couple on tube, picture from Wikimedia 

In a last attempt to reach Leicester, I shared a taxi with a woman called Fatima who seemed a bit less lost but as eager as me to get to Leicester before midnight. As we shared an hour long journey, we realised how many things in common we had regardless of the difference of culture and background. As a woman from a Muslim background she defied all odds and became an athlete and pursued a career in optometry instead of getting married at a young age. “I learned to be grateful about everything I’ve ever gotten, big or small, it’s always a step towards something bigger,” she explains when she refers to her studies and her job. Fatima took it upon herself to pay for our taxi ride, as she noticed my student ways after I tried getting a student discount on the ride. What if Doris was the start of something bigger that we needed to embrace?

It’s so easy to be in our own bubble, as times make us more focused on our own agenda and our own problems, technology just takes us that bit further away from people. Doris helped us step out of the bubble and realise that the people around us have a story too, and sometimes it’s alright to not be focused on ourselves.  Doris was an absolute pain but also a blessing in disguise.

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