A recent poll of my school playground revealed that 68% of respondents welcomed the Apocalypse.
This is a surprisingly high number given that most of these people have just invested in new kitchens with stainless steel benchtops (the perfect wipe-down surface for field surgery, and there’ll be a lot of that if the apocalypse happens).
Perhaps that’s why they chose stainless steel and not marble benchtops, which would be irreparably stained by blood and zombie fluids.
Perhaps they’re getting ready. Only two respondents admitted to preparing. One is a survivalist who wisely stays mostly in the closet. I say wisely because if everyone knew about his bore water, back-up generator, propane cylinders, duct tape and energy bars, the PTA would try to befriend him (or report him). The other parent respondent is an avid reader of dystopic fiction.
Many respondents replied that they welcomed the apocalypse because it would put an end to the relentlessly banal or stressful obligations of their lives. Most commonly cited reasons (for welcoming the Apocalypse) were:
- No more mortgage re-payments
- No more school fees
- No more [insert chore such as unloading the dishwasher, schlepping the kids to activities, volunteering at canteen, doing paperwork].
I know my friends were joking (mostly). But the joking indicated their perceived likelihood of Apocalypse-occurrence (low) rather than their perceived probability of surviving it (lower).
As for me, I’m somewhere in the middle. I don’t welcome it. I’d rather do the family taxes, dishwasher duty etc because I’m sure my children and I wouldn’t know how to forage for food once the canned goods ran out.
Sometimes at the supermarket I buy extra things – just in case. Extra batteries, matches and chickpeas. Sometimes I try to work out how I could legally and ethically procure a year’s supply of broad-spectrum antibiotics (still working on it). Robbing Pfizer seems a little extreme, the looting hasn’t started yet.
Other times, I pretend it’s all a work of fiction; the figment of the spectacular imaginations of my favourite dystopic authors. Paolo Bacigalupi, Emily St John Mandel, Cormack McCarthy, I’m looking at you and the others.
But I secretly suspect it’s coming. Violence escalates quickly, disease takes no prisoners, aliens are out there and they might not be friendly. Odin knows we aren’t. So, I read more dystopic fiction. I started reading it as escapism from my former career and the mini-Apocalypses that were taking place all over the world. Now I read it as instruction, just in case.