Driving Deus Ex Machina to work this morning, we were chatting, as often we do, about some of the recent "zombie"/post-apocalyptic tales that are popular. I, rather, preferred the BBC show "Survivors", which was about a super flu that killed most of the human race, but with no zombies/walking dead. The American versions of the post-apocalyptic stories always include these mindless hoards of very dangerous *biters* who stalk those remaining few humans who only wish to survive, and must fight - in true "Cowboy" fashion, guns blaring - for even just a morsel to eat or a clean drink of water.
While I don't think that there really is much of a chance of a zombie virus, especially not the kind that renders animated corpses aimlessly walking about looking for live flesh to consume, from a preparedness point-of-view, it's an interesting mental exercise to look around at the different structures and imagine what would be the safest place to hole up in the event that something like that, as unlikely as it is, were to really happen.
A more likely scenario is the kinds of things that are already happening to us, the every day kinds of emergencies - like unexpected, uncontrollable snowstorms that will hinder retail activity (when one considers that more than three-fourths of our economy is dependent on consumer activity, snowstorms that keep people out of stores have a significant negative impact). Since an economy is kind of like a slow-moving barge, we won't know the full ramifications of this years' winter storms, probably, until next year.
The weather will also affect more than just our ability to get out and go shopping. In some places, there have been shortage of feed hay. Dairy farmers might feel a bit of a pinch, and of course, they will pass that cost on to us, the consumer.
In Maine, the temperatures have been too cold to tap the maple trees ... well, until the last day or so, but now, it's too warm for the sap to flow. On a personal note, we've only collected 8 gallons of sap, which is about 1/5 of a gallon of syrup once it's boiled down. If commercial sugarers are having the same troubles we're having, there won't be any real maple syrup in the stores come September ... or it will be prohibitively expensive.
What's kind of funny is that writing the above paragraph was totally Deja vu, and I know I've warned this exact thing before. The weather plays a huge part in what's available to us, and the cost of said items. Certainly, we have no control over it, but being aware of it could be very important.
Maybe it's nothing weather-related, but something a little more sinister, like some social miscreant bent on destroying our American way of life by taking down the power grid. If reports are accurate, it wouldn't take a huge amount of effort to really mess things up, good. In one report I read, the authority said, in effect, that they can't watch every transformer, but because of the intricately linked system, taking out one transformer could do significant damage to a much larger part of the system. Yes, they say, there are fail-safes in place, but in an organized attack, those protections might not be any good.
I don't, really, think that our civilization is going to come to a crashing halt, but I do think that things are in motion and that life-as-we-know-it is changing. Of course, I think that's true, always. Life as my grandparents knew it is very different from the life I live. Whether it's better or worse is a matter of perspective.
I don't think civilization is just going to end, like snuffing out a candle, when I'm being logical, but like being aware that maple syrup will probably cost one's weight in gold next December or that we really should be better at storing up fire wood, I do worry about not being prepared IF it does happen.
So, this morning, I dropped Deus Ex Machina off at work and was heading back home. I exited the Interstate onto the spur. There were very few cars, and of course, no pedestrian traffic on the highway. It was quiet ... kind of surreal, but not unusual, actually, for this time of year. Steve Perry was singing to Sherry, and I was thinking about potential audition songs, not that I'm really going to audition. It's just one of those things I consider doing every time a show I really love is announced, and I think there might be a small role for me (I love the theatre, but I'm more of a backstage kind of person, really, even though I like to pretend that I could be in the limelight).
As I approached the exits that would take me down onto Main Street, an LED traffic message board advised me to "Watch for Walkers." It took me a minute to realize that the message was related to an upcoming charitable walk (Mary's Walk), and that drivers were being advised to watch out for participants in the walk.
Or, maybe, they know something we don't ... :).
***For those who don't watch zombie television shows, walker (as in "walking dead") is the term the characters use for the zombies in the television show The Walking Dead, which is why the sign, kind of, took me off guard when I saw it.