Last night, instead of writing a meditation on Good Friday for my church, I went out to dinner with a friend. We had planned to go see A Wrinkle in Time, then it looked like she had to cancel completely because of home inspectors coming, then later in the afternoon, she suggested dinner. I'd had a tough day, so dinner with a friend sounded wonderful. We hadn't seen each other since summer, so we had lots to catch up on, and much of it was tinged with sadness: hurricane repairs, the school shooting a month ago, the state of the larger world.
Even as we were talking about how much the current state of politics alarmed us, we often laughed uproariously. I mentioned the March for Parkland on March 24, and I realized that I knew very little about it. I said, "My pastor's the one that told me about it, so I'm assuming that any cause we're marching for would align with my values." We then had a moment of fun, thinking about a church group gathered under false pretenses to a white supremacist rally, with my pastor saying, "Rise up! Here is the evil we've been trained to fight."
In a similar vein, I said that my spouse had made a Facebook post wondering where the next Dietrich Bonhoeffer was when there was work to be done, and I responded that perhaps he is the one he's been waiting for. I said, "I meant that he should be writing. If he ends up a martyr, you'll know it's my fault."
We talked about wondering if English majors have a different approach to narratives of apocalypse than the general population. On the way home, it occurred to me to wonder if a certain segment of English majors chooses that major because of their love of dystopian literature.
We talked about the apocalypses we never thought we would see in our lifetimes, but now we seem to be in a race to see which apocalypse will win. The specter of nuclear war has raised its head again, and we agreed that we're seeing alarming similarities between our time and Europe in the 1930's. And we live in South Florida which will be a ground zero in this century of rising seas.
Our literary experiences have trained us to spot the apocalypse on the horizon, but I'm not sure they've told us what we should do. Of course, part of the problem is not knowing which apocalypse will come for us first.
I realize that I speak that last sentence from a place of privilege as a white woman who has economic resources and a passport. I'm older, which means I can blend in to the background. While I might contain several minorities in this package of my body and life, I also know how to pass.
I also know that the skill of passing hasn't always saved people. This Internet world makes it harder to blend into the background, should forces come looking for us.
We talked about leaving South Florida and where we should go. I said that it depends on which apocalypse is headed our way. If we're expecting the global economy to collapse, we'll want to live in a place where we can grow some food and have some chickens. If we're thinking that we're headed towards The Handmaid's Tale, we need to think about leaving the country and which countries have a good record when it comes to protecting women (all 6 of them) as we choose where to flee.
As I look back on this time period, I will see it as the season of dinners of exodus: so many people are seriously considering moving out of South Florida. In ten years, I wonder how many of us will have left. And I wonder what the larger settings of our lives will look like.
Best Essay Collections of 2017 by Women Authors
5 years ago