I caught a frightening glimpse of the apocalypse, and it’s worse than you think.
Yesterday our power was out all day and we were plunged into a darkness beyond what light can illuminate. I have read many post-apocalyptic novels in my day, but they couldn’t begin to prepare me for a world without power.
At first it was a funny adventure for the family. Once the cell phones went dead, which was quickly since that was the only powered object left in the house, we had something called “conversation” for a bit. We reacquainted ourselves with the different rooms in the house. Some of us picked up a . . . book.
But gradually people wanted to return to normal and do everyday things only to be thwarted. I kept trying to sit at my desk and work on the computer. My wife thought she would microwave lunch. One girl wanted to binge watch Pretty Little Liars. The other wanted some popcorn. Seemingly innocuous things that seemed to build on each other like a reverse game of Jenga, with the tower teetering towards the inevitable collapse.
Before long, as with what would happen to society at large if our infrastructure ceased to exist, chaos invaded. The concept of time ceased to exist, and that caused friction. “What time is it?” “HOW THE HELL SHOULD I KNOW? MY PHONE IS DEAD AND I CAN’T CHARGE IT!” “What’s for lunch?” “WHATEVER YOU CAN FIND IN A CAN!” “Can I shower now?” “SURE, IF YOU LIKE ICE COLD WATER!”
Soon, the girls were wandering around like zombies, with a vacant stare, Cheetos crumbs surrounding their lips, and their hands held out in front of them playing an imaginary game of Crossy Road or Trivia Crack with twitching thumbs on phones whose screens had long gone black. My wife started rocking in the corner because she couldn’t get any Tweets or update our calendars. I broke out in a cold sweat because I couldn’t challenge an anti-vaxxer on Facebook…
Then the family unit actually disintegrated. The oldest child, acting on whispered rumors of power in another land, took one car and left home to seek out a charge for her phone. My wife drove off in the other car because the walls were closing in her, and she finally noticed they needed paint. My youngest actually did homework. I quarantined her immediately.
I tried to imagine Ritz Crackers mixed in cold water as some sort of gazpacho for dinner.
But the glimpse into the future – a future where the power fails and the world as we know it ends, was truly terrifying. A world without email. A world without games. A world populated by desperate roaming bands of vacant-eyed wanderers carrying white iPhone chargers in their trembling hands.
I must go. Facebook calls.