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At Ground Zero of the Slow Apocalypse
March 28, 2020
by William P. Meyers

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Death from a Thousand Boredoms

The Apocalypse has come slowly, like coral bleaching in a tropical sea, only slower. There were two main sources of Apocalyptic forecasting in my childhood (early 1960s): the Catholic Church and the threat of Atomic War. Both promised some excitement and speed. The Catholic Church believed, after its leader Adolf Hitler failed to destroy the godless communist Joe Stalin and his minions in World War II, a more classic, Revelations type apocalypse was on the way to destroy Castro, Khrushchev, Mao and the rest of the lot. And the Cuban Missile Crisis impressed upon me that a normal moment might occur less than an hour before Total Atomic War.

Reading and watching TV (I only saw movies if they were re-run on TV) I learned many variations on the Apocalypse. Space alien invasions. Plagues. Zombie apocalypses. Asteroids smashing into the earth apocalypses. My favorite came to be Wild in the Streets, in which teenagers forced everyone to take LSD and put everyone over 30 in concentration camps. The only slow Apocalypse scenarios were those of ecological collapse and overpopulation. Even these could be made exciting by focusing on a post-Apocalyptic scenario, as in A Boy and His Dog or The Road Warrior.

Here I am, near the epicenter of the Apocalypse, at least the epicenter for the U.S.A., and it is boring. Boring, boring, boring.

I live at the northeast edge of Seattle. The greater Seattle area spreads out for miles beyond Seattle. The Epicenter, the beginning of the chain reaction, was the Life Care Center of Kirkland. To get to Kirkland from here you just drive a bit up around Lake Washington and hop on I405 south. It is much shorter if you have a boat and can cut across the lake. As a raven flies it I am closer to the Center than I am to downtown Seattle.

So far no one I know has tested positive for COVID-19, but friends of friends have. Wednesday a friend that lives in a large apartment building two blocks from me reported that she received a notice from the building manager that someone living in the building had tested positive for the virus. I walk by that building practically every day. When my grandchild visits we often walk to the playground across the street from the building.

The virus might kill me, or leave me with bad lungs, but it does not appear to be capable of killing a high enough percentage of the homo sapiens population to put the brakes on the ongoing overpopulation and ecological apocalypses. Even as it kills, more people are being born than are dying.

The economic fallout is just beginning to appear. I have a lot of friends who work in theater and have had their shows canceled. Restaurants are mostly closed. The Census is suspended. Dying from unemployment is a slow way to die. I would rather dodge zombies.

I suspect people will reach a breaking point soon enough. I am not sure if what has unraveled will come together again. So far nothing critical has been lost, and the Chinese seem to be getting back to business. But New York City is mostly closed. I lived there, it is hard to imagine it closed down. Seattle, not so much. I can walk the streets of my neighborhood, with my dog and wife, and mostly all we see is the occasional fellow dog walker. It is miserable weather anyway, cold and drizzly.

Next week the sun is supposed to come out. I hope people do to. I don't want to find out whether I am one of the people who gets COVID-19 and dies. But if we are going to have an Apocalypse, let's have a more exciting ones. Maybe this virus was engineered by space aliens to soften us up for the real invasion.

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Copyright 2020 William P. Meyers. All rights reserved.