Thursday, 28 June 2007

Sheffield Floods aspects of Gullibility?

It's been a couple of days now since I was caught up (not seriously) in the floods that hit Sheffield. My day started early and the train journey North hit trouble as we entered Derbyshire with a felled tree and a flooded tunnel. As the day went on the rain was ceaseless and at 4.30 it was clear that things were pretty bad, so I headed for the station and that's when I really began to see how serious things were because all tranins were cancelled and it was evacuated. Thinking back on this I find my reaction interesting. I really didn't have any sense of real concern just a sense of 'hassle' about how I was going to get home, last resort being stop over at the office. So - checking ticket availibility for buses I met up with 2 strangers - Simon a Grenadier Guard wanting to get to Derby and Colina wanting to get back to Notts. The whole situation then took a surreal turn, it was as if we were extras in a disaster movie, we managed to get tickets for a bus that was expected to be 4 hours late so we agreed a plan and went to the cinema to watch the Fantastic 4, we then grabbed something to eat and headed back to the Bus Station. By now the RAF helicopters were buzzing over head, and I had a call from home where my partner filled us in with Sky News coverage. That's when we realised not 1000 meters away the real trouble had hit Brightside. My partner's offices were there and whilst she was away working from home, they were all trapped.

The picture above is the junction where I ususally get dropped off if we travel by car and I walk up the hill into the city centre.

Looking back I find it really curious how 'laid back' my response to the situation, OK so no immediate danger, but I sort of indulged in the 'buzz' and trying to make sense of things. Is this a form of 'gullibility? By which I mean I took it for granted I'd be OK.

In fact the whole episode seems to be charactersied by 'nests' of gullibility. One of these was brilliantly summed upon the BBC website by a Prof of Environment etc who said, the problem was compounded by the fact that we are builiding on flood plains (mainly because its cheap and easy) and the reason flood plains are called flood plains is because...they flood!. Another nest is the general sense in which we conduct our daily lives by expecting, train services, electricity, water, a bed to sleep in, people to come home safe. We become lulled by normality and I think this dulls our ability to think in terms of 'contingency' and to recognise dangers when they confront us.

Take anything for granted and you leave yourself prone to gullibility. As my mate's father once said 'we are all just once power cut away from the stone-age'

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