Friday, December 21, 2012

Contemplating the End of the World

Haven't seen you in quite a while

I was down the hold just passing time
Last time we met was a low-lit room
We were as close together as a bride and groom
We ate the food, we drank the wine
Everybody having a good time
Except you
You were talking about the end of the world

- Until  the End of  the World, U2

The end of the world is supposed to happen today.  The weather certainly is acting like it's trying to blow us all away.  The gusts whipping through the trees and pulling at my little Rudolph out in the yard are stronger than anything we saw here when Sandy brushed up against us.  But, as of right now, the human race is holding steady.  Meaning that there are people who, as I write this, are dying or being born, loving one another or hating one another, going to work or avoiding going to work (I would be among the latter).  It's just a Friday.  Yet, can any of us really say it hasn't crossed our minds:  what if the Mayans were right?  I can just picture all those Survivalists bracing for it.  Of course, I guess they are kind of constantly bracing for it, so today isn't all that new.  The rest of us probably don't spend a whole of lot time thinking about the End of Days, but can you honestly say it didn't at least cross your mind as this date approached?  I used to wonder what I would do if I survived a catastrophic event, usually as I was curled up comfortably reading The Stand, my favorite book.  I figured I would head for Montana, high up into the mountains, try to find a cozy little cabin with my dogs, learn to hunt and fish, and get along just fine - like there was nothing to it, of course.  But, what crossed my mind recently when Sandy took large parts of the northeast briefly backwards 100 years, is that we're pretty soft as a society.  Even those of us who have hard lives where we struggle to make ends meet.  We're not really the kind of people who could easily survive if all the modern conveniences were taken away from us.  When I first started watching Revolution, I thought that the view of the world fifteen years on was pretty bleak, but the more I think about it - particularly as my own power flickered on and off as Sandy introduced itself - the more I realized that's probably exactly right and the only problem I have with the show, which I am completely addicted to, is that the people look awfully pretty for living for fifteen years without washing machines, hair stylists, teeth whiteners and even decent razors.  But, the fact that they still look pretty isn't really the point, the point is that life would be extraordinarily hard.  Disease, famine, large scale violence, all of those things probably would happen.  So, I have to confess that my chances of surviving to make it to Montana are pretty slim, so I spent more brain cells wondering how I would spend my last day on earth.  As it turns out, had yesterday been truly the last day of civilization, I spent it working and cleaning up puppy pee and poop.  Not exactly epic, so I guess I'm glad we've all got another shot at it.  But, what would you do, who would you spend it with and what would you say to them?  There are likely a contingent who would march into their boss, spouse, or someone else and tell them off, but probably most of us - the vast, vast majority of us - would draw our loved ones close to us and tell them how much we love them and why.  We probably ought to live every day like it was the end of the world.

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