The end of the world will be … Friday. Or Monday. It depends who you’re listening to, really.
The uncertainty of the whole affair makes it a tad difficult to organise one’s life. Like whether to renew your driver’s licence for five years or one. Or not at all. Whether or not you should send for a year’s subscription to Chow Down, bearing in mind you might not be eating anything at all after Wednesday. And it certainly seems a waste of time to bother cleaning the windows, considering the glass is going to be whirling around the universe in a trillion pieces and nobody will know who neglected it or didn’t.
Most importantly, in these uncertain times, you should think again about how worthwhile it would be to build a fallout shelter, emerging like a mole when it’s all over, blinking in the fluorescent red sunlight or whatever – ready to start again in a brave new world. Pass. There wouldn’t be any exciting people left to start it with anyway. Only boring farts who’d built fallout shelters and stockpiled tins of Stagg beans for the past 10 years. All you’d get from them would be a lot of pontificating and flatulence. The exciting people will be in little pieces. Whirling around with my dirty windowpanes, not giving a hoot.
Besides, there won’t be any malls. Or the Sunday Magazine from the weekend paper. Or terrific telly shows where you can gleefully watch people stuff up other people’s beige homes with a can of purple paint and six metres of orange fur fabric. Not to mention cowprint terry toweling stapled to the wardrobe doors.
There won’t even be anything to take the Mick out of anymore, seeing as the Flatulent Ones will be busy taking everything far too seriously. They’ll be setting up insurance offices, accountancy programs and working out new calendars and stuff.
Cries of, ‘Hey – let’s go get a cappuccino!’ will be met with glares of derision and indifference. They’ll be urging you to sign up for the bean-planting committee and warning you about the hazards of standing out in the sun. Which is a bit of a curly one really, seeing as everyone’s glowing in the dark and emitting little beeping noises when they walk too close to rocks. There you’ll be, in a barren landscape, wondering what in hell compelled you to duck into a fallout shelter in the first place.
The Flatulent Ones will not have chocolate manufacture high on the priority list. It’s going to be mung beans all the way, and a Day-Glo alfalfa crop. Nothing is going to be funny ever again. You can forget trying to organise a bus trip to an underwear emporium, or getting anyone to sing Ten Green Bottles with you as you solemnly dig bean furrows in the atomically-charged earth. You can forget getting your teeth into a Sara Lee danish. Life as you knew it is now somewhere out there in the ether – and by gum, you’re going to be wishing you were part of it. Many parts of it, as it happens.
Because, gentle reader, the kind of people you might even vaguely have wished to be marooned with were the ones who howled with laughter at the word ‘armageddon’. They were the ones who said, ‘Armageddon outta here before it blows!’ and then sat around slapping their thighs and ordering cappuccinos to go.
They mined uranium, ripped up the forests and munched on genetically modified beef. They destroyed the ozone layer with their refrigerators and motor cars, and let their waste products swim merrily in the water they drank. They thrived on noise and packaging, and visual stimulation. They lived for caffeine and making fun of vegetarians. But now they’re gone.
You too, could have been part of the Gone Generation – but here you are, hanging out with the Flatulent Ones. Sitting in on a discussion as to whether it would make more sense to have 13 months instead of 12 this time around, and the possibility of cloning cows from the one existing packet of powdered milk. But not for eating purposes, natch.
There’s nothing electronic, nothing exciting, nothing to look forward to and nothing dangerous. Unless you count that dark red sky and the hideous, ticking soil.
Ticking, ticking, ticking …