It's not the end of the world. (A phrase normally used to comfort people, but this time just a statement of fact.) Everyone seems vaguely disappointed; wouldn't it have been reassuring if it really had been the end of the world? No more worrying, no more responsibility, no more thinking about the what ifs of it all. Makes me think of this poem:
It occurs to me, perversely perhaps, but unmistakably,
That it would be so nice to be seized like that
And taken away.
I'm not sure why, but it occurs to me
That it would be so nice to have a change of problems,
And such a relief to be in the right for once
In the face of the interrogators which are everywhere, anyway.
Solitary confinement sounds nice, too.
I like that word, used in the reports, "incommunicado".
Well, why are you asking? I'm only just saying it occurs to me
That one might be able to take a spiritual
Retreat out of it, such as I've never managed
To achieve in the atmosphere of monasteries and convents.
Unworldliness is such a distraction, you see.
Of course, the idea of being seized is
A prehistoric female urge, probably, rising
Up from the cave, which must have been exciting,
And perhaps one would hope for a charming interrogator.
Yes, I do agree, I wouldn't like it really.
It's only just an idea. Yes, I know you don't follow.
Because, in fact, I'm not leading anywhere. Just talking,
That's all. I think I'd put up a fight, actually,
If taken away off the street. And it occurs to me that maybe
I would like a fight, but not really.
Neither would they, perhaps.
I don't know. Why are you asking questions
Like this and trying to put me in the wrong?
I've exhausted the idea, anyhow, with all this talking.
(Muriel Spark, if you're interested.)
That feeling of knowing that bad things happen and it's not your fault is astonishingly liberating. I normally have the opposite problem. I don't know why, but I have a major guilt complex. Every time I go into the supermarket and walk past the store detective, it makes me feel like an awkward thief. The funniest part is that I've never actually stolen anything
- not even when I was that age where all little kids are supposed to steal stuff, get caught, get in trouble and learn never to do it again. Doesn't make any difference - I still feel as though my handbag is stuffed full of contraband whenever the security guy wanders past me.
The same goes for Facebook! Whenever someone I know (it's usually a girl, let's be honest) puts up a post being mean to someone anonymous, I'm sure it's me. "stop flirting with my boyfriend you dumb bitch he's MY MAN and he dosent want you anymore!!!" My head goes questioning. Do I know her boyfriend? Have I spoken to him ever? Was I friendly? Should I maybe, next time I see her, reassure her that her boob-less boyfriend is probably not my type? (Luckily most of my friends do not post this kind of thing. However, there are always a few people you have to be friends with for political/work/some other stupid reasons, and they can sometimes slip under the radar.)
Something like the apocalypse, however, brings on no rush of inappropriate guilt - just the sweet relief of knowing that there is no point at all in filling out your tax forms or doing the washing-up.
Ah well, according to the list of dates predicted for apocalyptic events
, the next possible-apocalypse is scheduled for the 19th May, 2013. Maybe I could just leave the dishes until then?