Going on Day #4 of this restless, unhappy-ish mood. It was amplified this morning in a very odd way; I had some extra time this morning and the weather isn’t all that bad. So, I took Adam for a walk around our neighborhood. I’ve done it a hundred times but this morning felt different.
I saw not a single person out. Cars were parked in driveways and I could hear the traffic on Balltown Road. But I did not see anyone else walking their dogs, jogging, biking, driving…nothing. It was like I was the only person left surviving in a middle-class suburban apocalypse. It was incredibly lonely and ominous.
I’ve never done hallucinogenic drugs because I don’t need to. My imagination is wild enough as it is; I don’t need to see or hear things that don’t exist. I wouldn’t even touch an edible with a 10 foot pole – been there, done that, did not buy the t-shirt because fuck that.
So, anyway, it was easy to walk my dog through the disturbingly quiet side streets of Niskayuna, feeling like the only person left. The rubber on my sneakers on the blacktop. The rustling crunchiness of leaves being tossed and scraped by the wind. Abandoned gardens; disheveled yards. Cars left to rust. Homes quiet. How many of us would survive the upcoming winter season if we had no access to gasoline for our vehicles and natural gas or propane to heat our homes? What if we all only could rely on coal or wood? How many homes in my neighborhood are actually equipped with efficient alternative means to heat their living spaces?
I have a fireplace but it’s meant for cozy vibes, not properly heating our home. I am certain many of my neighbors have similar set-ups.
There are many post-apocalyptic stories – they star unlikely heroes that somehow survive through the end. They surprise us with their strength and resilience; their resourcefulness and determination.
Would I make it?
I have no hunting skills. I remember how to fish but I don’t have any fishing equipment. I don’t have a super well-stocked pantry nor a root cellar bursting with my gardening bounty. I don’t know how to trap live animals nor salt down the meat once butchered. I don’t have an extensive knowledge about our local edible wild plants. Shit, I don’t have any knowledge about that.
So, no, I wouldn’t. When it came right down to long-term surviving, I don’t think that I could. I don’t know if I would want to. The world we live in right now is pretty violent and the absence of any laws whatsoever would either knit us together or drive us further apart.
The pessimistic, more realistic side of me sees it separating us – every person for themselves and their family. The initial stealing and hoarding of food, weapons, supplies. Even the people who would be preaching for us all to cooperate and help one another would be driven to this extreme me-first-ness, horrified by their actions at first and then becoming immune to it, convincing themselves that the world had changed and they needed to change with it to survive.
It’s a tried and true storyline.
But I suppose that after a while, once the status-quo was established and once the weaker and meaner had died off (because I feel that’s inevitable), the strongest to emerge are the ones who are helping one another. As much as being with other people can be exhausting and frustrating, in a world lacking the amenities and technology we’ve all grown to rely on, we have to be able to count on each other. There’s no more Google, no more Pinterest. Each of us has different talents and different skill sets – we would need to learn from each other on a personal level.
The sad truth is that the majority of us are depressingly mediocre and basic. The luxuries in life have made us this way without our conscious awareness of it. We may be the bad-ass heroes in our mind but when push comes to shove, a lot of us would die of starvation, exposure, idiocy, and lack of true grit. Likely I’d be among them.