I have declared a mental moratorium on the Apocalypse
For most of my life, the World was in impending doom: first from the Bomb, then the population explosion. Then, during the 70’s, we were going to run out of oil, and/or some vague environmental collapse would completely blight the landscape, if not the air and water. After that, the Reagan administration was going to bring back the Bomb, and/or usher in totalitarianism, if AIDS and crack-fueled superpredators didn’t get there first. Then, we had the Bush administration, during which we were going into economic collapse, if militarism didn’t turn us into NAZI Germany Lite.
Under Clinton, we had eight years of Dour, with Ecological Collapse II the looming portent that would justify us all giving up modern living, except for, like, people who needed to travel in jets, have large houses, and live life in the large. (You know, generous rich people who donated lots of money to the Democratic Party.) After that the Y2K bug failed to materialize. Just a week or so ago, I heard from someone who claimed that “all the experts” pointed to economic collapse in mid-March.
Don’t get me started on evangelicals, Nostradamus, zombie fans, and anyone who believed in 2012.
I’m sorry, but I’m not swallowing it. Ever. Again. I’m fifty-five years old and I have no kids. Telling about how life will be unlivable in 2050 doesn’t faze me, no matter how many cute baby pictures you put up. It’s not the planet that’s in danger: it’s our privileged 21st century lifestyles. Telling me that the whole economy is going to go smash isn’t going to keep me from learning how to use spreadsheets and mySQL to price book groceries, or buying a wardrobe for job interviews.
Having been homeless, and having been in a neighborhood affected by Sandy, I know about being “prepped”. I remember the huge number of MRE’s on the shelves of dollar stores after Y2Didn’t, and actually liked at least some of them. Those I didn’t, were for rather trivial reasons— I don’t like cumin, but…hey, I could adapt…The only reason why I don’t stockpile food is because it’s expensive, and you can’t use food stamps over the Internet (Wake up, SNAP!) which is why I don’t use Peapod, drink Soylent, or any of the other ways that I could probably survive the first few weeks of a J.G. Ballard novel. (In any case, Mr. Cat is a family member, unless you want to eat the mice, yourselves.) I read My Side of the Mountain as a kid, and love to eat forage, for pleasure, if nothing else. I don’t yet have a good tent, but I’ve lived in one, on the New Haven Green.
Let’s face it: at this point, it would take an awful lot for us to fall really far. Too many people know too much: lose electricity, we’re back to steam (which is how we generate electricity, come to think of it). Personally, it would mean cuts in my food stamps, and probably an end to my subsidized housing. Still, I think that the Louis family downstairs (my landlord) and I could probably cut a deal, considering he’s a lousy cook, and I’ve got a black belt in anything to do with food. (So far, he can do rice, beans and chicken, when the family isn’t relying on the microwave.)
I guess what you can say is that it just wouldn’t matter much. Sandy meant a few weeks of having a stove that didn’t work, and me not having, as I do now, Sterno, or more poetically, a Japanese konro, or even more prosaically, a space heater made of four tea lights and a couple of flower pots. As they say, the first 36 hours are the ones where you panic. Then you reassess. Throw me in a camp. Put a camera up my ass and tell me when I masturbate. I’ve been there. I’m done. Go and have your Apocalypse, if you want. But don’t ask me to be frightened.
I’m still going to hear from someone who will say, but…wait, the wolf actually comes in the end, and this crisis is real! Let's rewrite Aesop, and have the smiling villagers lead him out into a place where there are neither sheep nor wolves...and leave him there. Forever. It was called being an 'idiot', and yes, it did happen in Greece.
Sorry, Al Gore. I’ll vote Democrat, but I won’t embrace your idea that since polar bears are mating with grizzlies, therefore I should shut up and do what you tell me to. Same to you, Evangelicals. I love Jesus, too. But not enough that I’m going to think that the world is 6000 years old and that my soulmate and my Godfather and at least one of the priests in my church is going to Hell for sodomy.
Call me a "climate change denier", call me blasphemous. It doesn't make any difference anymore.
Sorry. I wanted a better future. You screwed up.
I don’t care. I’m making my own.