Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It's the End of the World As We Know It...

Choosing not to go to work or not to leave your home is a much different animal than being forced to stay put. I am not digging these snowdays anymore.

I did venture out to go check on my former neighbor's house and her two cats. While I was out, I did not see one other single soul. No children playing in the yards. No curtains rustling at the window. No cars rumbling down the street. Not even a barking dog. It was strangely quiet. Eerily so.

Add to that eerie silence a severe windchill and rolling blackouts and you up the creepy factor by about one zillion. If I wasn't terrified of slipping and falling on the glacier-like streets, I probably would have run home and locked the doors and counted my cans of cream corn.

It felt like Snowpocalypse.

I've thought about that moment, standing in the middle of my deserted street, all day. And each time, I get that feeling - like jagged fingernails dancing up your spine. At first, I tried to laugh it off like a child who's convinced herself she's not afraid of the dark. Then I tried to rationalize by reminding myself that, aside from texting and facebook, I'd been without human interaction for 48 hours. That's enough to weird me out usually. Then the television went dead. And the Internet too.

Suddenly, I understood why it is that I fear all of those "end of civilization" movies. It's not the creatures which leaped from someone's imagination onto the movie screen. It's not the thought of running out of food or supplies. It's not even the degradation of human kind that is always shown.

It's that moment - where the hero stands in the middle of a dead neighborhood - saying farewell to all the goodness that once was and accepting the loneliness that now is. Taking in the bleak landscape and preparing to go it alone. That. That is the moment I fear. That is the moment I cannot look away from.

Here's what I think. The apocalypse isn't about the end of the world. It's about the end of your world. The end of what you know and accept and cherish. The end of your comfort and reassurance. When the landscape shifts and you find yourself in uncharted territory, scraping together supplies, and devising a plan to move on. Divorce. Death. Letting go. Moving on.

And it's a terrifying moment, standing alone in that street.

So why do I keep watching those movies? Because eventually, the hero's not alone anymore. And the only thing more terrifying, and exhilarating, than an ending? A beginning.

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