Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The last time the world ended

Everybody is getting ready for the world to end on Friday. I've already lived through about a half dozen predictions of the end of the world, but only one that reached the same worldwide fervor the way this 2012 thing has was of course, Y2K.

The thing that was such a big deal about Y2K was that it actually was JUST believable enough. We all had computers, we all had deal with the way they would just crash and act weird for no reason we could figure out. Anybody who had written anything for the internet at that point had seen a website's code break down completely because you misplaced a semicolon.

It seemed crazy, but there was that little seed of wonder, isn't it feasible? If we could get a blue screen of death for something we've been doing for weeks, then couldn't most computers crash because of a coding error? And wasn't our whole life already starting to be completely run by computers?

So for New Year's of Y2K, I decided I needed a good vantage point for the end of the world. So my sister, my best friend, and I all drove to an overlook on Mill Mountain in Roanoke, Virginia to stand in front of the Roanoke Star just in case everything went dark. Then we could see everything without the light pollution, and be isolated in case the whole world went crazy.

We weren't the only people who had the idea, there were probably a dozen people hanging out. Of course, as the clock counted down to 0 and we entered the year 2000, nothing happened.

Of course, the 2012 scare doesn't have that slim air of legitimacy or believability. It only has the feeling that something gets when so many people believe in it. The Mayans didn't even have a concept of the end of the world at the time that they made their calendar, everything about it is ridiculous.

And yet, it's that little doubt that hits your brain. The world has to end sometime, doesn't it? One day actually will be our last, even if it's not the end of Earth as we know it.

That's the problem with apocalypse predictions, is that it reminds everyone of how ridiculous the world we live in really is sometimes. It's the idea that we could slip in the bathtub tomorrow, or come down with something and not get to a doctor in time. Because we have to live with that every day, and tamp it down all the time, when somebody predicts the end of the world it's a place to put all those fears and those doubts. So even people who are normally very rational think "well, what if?"

Of course that leads to all kinds of problems, people getting scammed, getting violent, acting irrationally, and on and on. Thankfully most people I know are going back to the same kind of idea I had during Y2K - getting together to celebrate and act silly and be with the people we care about.

I'll probably be at a party myself. But if this does turn out to be my last week of writing for my blog because the world is ending, I do want to leave this as my last big opinion statement - our world is crazy, and difficult, and painful but I have found my life to be worth the problems and the pain. I've been loved and cared for, and I've had the things I needed, and I couldn't ask for more than that, and so I simply want to say thank you.

If this is not my last blog entry ever, of course I'll go back to complaining about things next week.

Good luck with the apocalypse!