I believe everyone has a hidden end-of-world terror scenario tucked away in the storage closet of their mind. Think Doomsday Preppers.
For the uninitiated, Doomsday Preppers is a delight for over-anxious humans who enjoy occasional reality TV. This does not describe me in the slightest. Really. Anyway, the premise of the show is to go off and find humans who truly believe the world is going to end imminently, and then have them show off their impressive preparations (guns! hydroponics! 6 miles of underground tunnels!) while a company that suspiciously specializes in end-of-world disaster prepping rates their survival skills.
I’m totally fascinated by the diversity of the apocalyptic scenarios that humans are prepping for. Economic collapse, super volcanos (google those if you never want to sleep again), and nuclear war are a few fan favourites. I think most people have one of these scenarios tucked away in the recesses of their mind.
Here’s what’s not fucking funny: Mine’s happening right now.
A creeping, silent sickness hopping around the planet, relying on our human needs, exploiting touch and love and support. Public spaces, doorknobs, strangers and smudged forks all become sinister objects. Illness is such a strange thing to grapple with on a global scale. We grow used to negotiating our own body when sick, allowing ourselves some weakness in a world that asks for strength on tap. But now this thing becomes insidious and grasping and we’re left with too many questions as we crane our necks at the rising curve. (flatten the curve, flatten the curve, flatten the curve we chant, washing our hands)
What’s my point? Jesus, I don’t know. I’m reading the news too much, but I know a lot of you are too. Here’s the thing. Humans are badly wired to respond to crisis in large groups. We’re all looking for someone to tell us what the right thing is, if we’re too worried or not worried enough, if we should buy the pasta or the rice or just book the cruise and go (do. not. do. that. thing.)
Here’s what to do. This is the time to devote yourself to love through individual, personal responsibility for the safety of your community. If you stay home, if I buy only what I need, and if we collectively walk away feeling silly for all the precautions – we kept someone vulnerable safe – and that will add up to a lot of loved, vulnerable someones who will get to enjoy this blue dot for longer, and maybe even watch an episode of Doomsday Preppers.
Oh, and wash your damn hands.