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A Magazine for Sheffield

Snowed In: An Elephant in the Lift

Snow was falling but there was an elephant in the lift. On the night in question I and a few of my flatmates decided to head out to watch the results of the US presidential election roll in. It was already fated to be a disaster of a night. The rain was relentless and water had seeped into my shoes by the time we arrived. Despite our journey we made it into the bar, which was brimming with other students. We found a seat next to the wall, close to a TV screen, anxiously waiting for any news. An hour had passed and still no news, just some statistics from the BBC. For a few minutes my attention had drifted, but I could hear a rising commotion, so I turned to the screen to see that Donald Trump was leading. It was a bitter pill to swallow. I remember the reassurances circulating around the room. People turned to their friends, saying, 'It’s only the first result'. As more results poured through I kept that reassurance in my mind. When I got home and went to bed, I pinned my hopes on the fact that there were still more results to come through. Waking up to the news that morning was like a splash of cold water in the face. I was in a state of disbelief, as I sat up in bed scrolling through the news. Later on, someone said that this was a year where the unexpected happened. Headlines were comparing Britain’s exit from the European Union to the US election result. I had no words, so I watched the Washington Post’s broadcast of Trump’s victory speech to see what words he would use to describe his win. The speech was full of praise for Hillary Clinton and those who aided Trump in his campaign, like Chris Christie, but it never really echoed the turnout at Barak Obama’s victory speech in 2008. I remember getting ready to go to a lecture and looking out of my window to see snow falling and covering the ground. But I didn’t quite get that jubilant feeling that you experience when snow usually falls. It was just snow. Nothing seemed more important on that day than the presidential result. The news had been swamped with headlines about Trump, which is to be expected, but very few headlines discussed the new sanctions on Crimea agreed to by the European Union or the oil spill in Venezuela. Every mundane task, like taking the lift to the ground floor of my building, seemed odd. On my way down, I was joined by someone else from my building. The election result lingered in the air, but we had an unspoken agreement to avoid the matter altogether. We chatted about the snow and how back in high school everyone would go sledging down the hills of the school fields. It was small talk, an attempt to ignore the elephant in the lift. And so I made my way to university - just like any other day, but this day was shrouded by a blanket of uncertainty. )

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