Close encounter with Cyril

Cyril is the hurricane that hit the Old Continent yesterday. Plenty of news reports already picture the general situation.

For a deadly hurricane, it was not as serious as what happened in New Orleans. Of course, there were some dead people; but I did not see cars or trees flying, not too much water, and only one house in the cities around lost its roof. However, it was very interesting.

The first interesting bit is how I felt Cyril coming. All the morning long I felt nervous, tense, not able to focus on my work as if I did not sleep properly the night before — although I did. As the wind became stronger and stronger in the early afternoon, I grew restless and was absolutely not surprised when the alert was published and everyone in the office was sent home.

The second interesting bit is how poorly the alert was published and how terrible the situation was, all the afternoon long. Local reports initially explained that the worst part of the storm was coming between 6 and 7 in the evening; so people started going home in the early afternoon. Only after a while did it struck everyone that the real peak was between 3 and 4, when everyone was on the road and stuck in traffic jams. Dumb reporters, useless crisis management system.

The third interesting bit started to show up as Cyril was flying to the East. People started to get out from their homes or relax from the stress. A friend of mine invited me for dinner, and explained later that he himself got many offers to eat with people he wouldn’t otherwise relate to. It seemed that everyone was happy to be still there and wanted to share the relief with other humans. Sweet.

Only in the evening did I realize that I did feel scared during the storm; scared that the car I was in would get hit by something; scared that the area would become flooded; scared that I would not get home safe. Very basic feelings, quite irrational, crudely animal. When I recall the deep, flesh-ingrained knowledge that something was coming in the morning, it appears that there is more to me than an ethereal consciousness trapped in a clumsy body. Millennia of fears and instincts rooted in my genes are at work when they become needed.

And that’s scary, too.