This is probably going to be rather stream-of-consciousness, as I’m writing with the specific intent of making myself feel better. It’s a trick I use from time to time; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. This mood I’m in is a very dark one, so I wouldn’t take it personally at all if you decided to skip today’s offering and come back when there is more sweetness and light.
Do you remember when you were a kid, and you had no idea why it was that the grown-ups in your life watched the nightly news? At most you considered it to be boring and somewhat confusing, so you ignored it for occupations that better utilized the resources of your adolescent mind. Like hunting up wild strawberries in the yard, or reading a comic book under the bed covers. The news was something the adults discussed over the dinner table, while you tuned out and contemplated how best to feed the peas to the family dog without being noticed. It was Dan Rather or Walter Cronkite or Tom Brokaw (depending on your era) murmuring in the background while you did your homework on the living room floor; both necessities to get beyond before Your Shows started at 7:00.
Your world consisted of home, school, your bedroom, your back yard. Occasionally there were family vacations to remind you that life existed outside of your home town. But the big, wide world and its problems were an alien concept – the worries of which never even crossed your mind.
Until you grew up.
Until I grew up.
I don’t trust my news sources – I’m not aware of a single one that I could turn to in order to get the full story, the big picture, the honest truth. Those that I do read are so full of bad news, chaos, and diminishing hope that when I spend too much time reading them I start to get unbearably depressed. As I am today. I feel like there’s no hope for our future, that the BAD is going to continue to spiral and gain momentum until the entire population of the planet erupts into unbridled violence and chaos.
The worst thing is, that likelihood really isn’t all that improbable. That bright shiny Star Trek-ish future in which the planet is clean, the people are healthy, violence is rare, and money is unneccessary – that’s less likely to happen than the post-apocalyptic nightmare scenarios that Hollywood is fond of churning out. And so I look at my life, my future, my goals, and I wonder what good it does to keep trying to convince myself that everything is going to be alright.
Bill and I watched a show on the History Channel the other night called “Surviving Armageddon”. It portrays a family (father, mother, son) who have survived some sort of a plague outbreak which decimates society. They leave Los Angeles and travel to Idaho, encountering gangs hoarding food and killing for gasoline, trekking across the desert with no food or water, and finally making it to a town of survivors who have re-learned how to live the way our ancestors did back in the 1800′s. After surviving all of THAT (spoiler alert!) the dad dies of an infection he got from a tiny little cut on his finger.
The show absolutely solidified this mood that I’m in right now. Not because the story was particularly saddening (I mean, come on, I saw that ending coming a mile away), but because of how possible the whole scenario seems. We joke about the Zombie Apocalypse and the need to stockpile weapons and Ramen noodles, but when the show points out that we are four days away from complete societal breakdown (as in, if the power goes out, people start getting sick, food and water run low, etc.), it kind of makes you sit up and pay attention.
I’m not a believer in Doomsday, really. I know the whole 2012 thing is a crock of shit. But I DO pay attention to the world around me, and things don’t look so great right now. We keep accepting new realities as time goes by, because we have no other choice. We adjust to a new form of “normal” every single day, to the point where today’s normal would have been an unrecognizable, unthinkable horror if conceived of ten years ago.
So what do we do? Do we keep living our lives as if we’re going to achieve that bright and shiny future? Or do we move to the sticks and start hoarding bullets and soap? It’s a rhetorical question – nobody has those kinds of answers. It’s just a matter of which future you believe in more strongly.
I haven’t made up my mind. But the more I educate myself, the more my eyes are opened… the less happy I become. So, should I be happy and blind, or miserable and prepared?
Also a rhetorical question.