SWB on Armageddon (again)

Peter Broelman / Australia

It’s almost a week since the decorations came down: does anyone else agree that it has felt more like a year? Or an ultra-marathon? Or just a week long sojourn in Dante’s seventh circle of hell?

I definitely overdid the frivolity at Christmas because I had the utmost difficulty squeezing into my work outfits. No matter, said I, sure I’ll go for a few runs. Well. Those plans came to naught, such was my fatigue coupled with the fear of being tossed in the air by a tempest. Up here on the hill the gales have been frightful, and I can’t help but feel that they mirror the worldwide turbulence, so no rest for my tormented soul there.

You know already that I am inclined towards hyperbole, but I kid you not when I say that upon hearing of Trump’s antics last Friday my innards turned to ice. I made the mistake of sitting down to the news with a bowl of steaming noodles which were abandoned as my stomach lurched. So gripped with a powerful fear was I, that I did the only sensible thing a 40 year old can do in those circumstances, and rang my mum.  While the Mothership can work herself up into quite a frenzy about the price of Nambarrie tea bags, or a misshapen Hovis Loaf, she’s actually quite reassuring when it comes to the possibility of world annihilation.

She’s also quite tech savvy, so while she’d only heard the headlines she got herself on the net and quickly caught up, tutting under her breath. ‘Hmmph, you’d think he had better things to do, with him on his holidays in Florida. Yon fella shouldn’t be let out.’

‘I feel sick,’ I told her. ‘He’s done it this time. There’s no way back from this. We’re all doomed.’

I’d worked myself up into a powerful state of agitation.

The Mothership was quite abrupt in her response. ‘We’ll have none of that nonsense,’ said she. ‘What use would you be to man or beast if you went down that road?’

I agreed that quite, to adopt an attitude of fatalism wasn’t going to help anyone.

But she was warming to her theme.

‘Listen now,’ she said. ‘I’ve lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, not to mention all the recent strife. You can’t let yourself go under because of what MIGHT happen.’

‘There was your Nanna hiding under a table during the Blitz. Ans she lived until she was 88! You wouldn’t have caught her carrying on like this!’

She was quite animated by now, and ended the call by suggesting that I go and tidy the living room, because the last time she was up it was ‘nothing short of appalling’ and really, people might talk. Yes, I said. People are absolutely going to talk about the state of chassis that is my house, what with the possibility of a nuclear fallout.

But she did well. I managed to eat some of my lunch, though being rice noodles they had become somewhat congealed. Once I composed myself I took the kids to visit my friend and she fed them sausages and chips and we drank tea and ate Kitkats in the warm glow of her twinkly Christmas lights. I told her that I was very worried indeed, quite shaken, truth be told.

She shrugged. ‘It’s just the new normal isn’t it?’ she said, as she poured me more tea.

She’s so right too. The world is terrifying and run, seemingly by mad men. It makes one feel impotent and lost. So we could all down tools and await the apocalypse or just motor on, doing things that bring us joy and savouring each moment as we go. In the meantime, let’s sign some petitions, join some protests and in whatever tiny way we can, show that we’ll not be dragged headlong into a shit-show because of some narcissistic prick on either side the pond.

Though given my tendency towards self-absorption, calling people narcissists is probably quite rich. Such were my lamentations during the week that it prompted LSB to say: ‘If the world does end, it won’t just happen to you, you know!’

He made a valid point. Please God let things take a brighter turn, and should they not, chin up everyone.






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