|Storm Of Fear
||[Oct. 30th, 2012|06:56 pm]
Today, as I step out in the drizzling rain and look around, I can’t help but feel cheated. I have spent the last 4 or more days in a state of hyper anxiety as the media has filled my head with visions of having my roof blown off, my basement flooded, and my power out for two weeks.
For three days I’ve been off my diet, eating practically every minute of the day to stave off the anxiety of listening for this killer storm. But in the end there was no flood. Not even a minor one. There are no downed trees lying across houses or cars. The closest thing we had to a power outage was some flickering of the lights and a couple of lapses in power, none of which lasted more than a minute.
Thus, all the money I spent laying in supplies, the disruption to the organization of the house, and the total torpedoing of my diet and mental health was entirely unnecessary.
Now, as I look about the net and see all these articles about how Sandy is supposed to be some kind of warning sign to take climate change seriously, I feel just the opposite. I feel like Sandy is a wake-up call to realize just how sick the over-hype of the media can make you.
For the last several days I have seriously been contemplating dying, or at the very least losing everything I own, including all my notes and everything else I require to continue publishing Spectral Shadows.
Though, to be honest, I live every moment of my life with the feeling of living on borrowed time, since I should have been dead a half a dozen times over from previous stupidity. When the truth is I’ve not one reason to believe my rabbit’s luck is going to run out on me. I should take surviving disasters as routine by now and just face them head on as they come without all this worry.
It turns out I didn’t need to do anything for this storm. I keep my place well stocked with batteries and such as a matter of general practice. The cupboards are always well stocked with canned food. We get at least one or two big blackouts a year, usually without any warning at all. And we get through them just fine because of these general preparations.
I didn’t need to go out and police the neighborhood to make sure every little thing was tied down – didn’t need to make sure there was plenty of battery operated entertainment on hand to keep the folks amused. And if this proves any adage, it’s that preparing for stuff is the best way to insure it won’t happen.
So, if you go ahead and panic over climate change, build a shelter in your backyard and stock it with everything you think you’ll need to survive the submerging of the continent, build your own ark and have a preset list of the neighbors you like enough to share it with, odds are you can rest assured you’ll never need any of it, just because you’re prepared.
But, you won’t rest assured, because the reason you went ahead and made all those preparations was because somebody already had you scared to death. And you don’t rest assured when you’re scared to death.
In my case, I feel like the house and grounds weathered the storm far better than I did personally. I feel like the storm of media generated paranoia that rushed over me for days on end has left me battered, strung out, and creatively dysfunctional.
Today I said to myself, “Ok, it’s over. The day itself and nothing more. Let’s get back to work.”
But as I turned on my computer and tried to get back into my fantasy world, which I been working hard at for the last couple of months on Spectral Shadows Brainstormers, my mind just said to me, “You’ve got to be kidding. I am so not getting into that mode now. I’m way too strung out from being terrified.”
I am so tired of the rampant terrorism in my life. If it’s not the weather news it’s my doctor telling me I’m at risk for heart attacks and strokes. But if I’m at risk for heart attacks and strokes it’s because I’m scared all the time, and I over eat to deal with that. When I can manage to kick all the terrorists in my life to the curb I don’t need to eat so much, and keeping to a healthy, artistically productive routine becomes a pleasure.
At this point I just feel wasted, really tired and really uncreative. And I think I’m just going to have to go off somewhere for a while and try to heal, get back into my groove, and try really hard not to let this put me into such a state that I end up putting on 20 pounds between now and the end of the year.
But how does one find a sense of peace and security in a world where one is constantly surrounded by terrorists? Particularly at election time when both the major parties are spreading terror 24 hours a day to an extent that you will hear it any time you come in contact with any form of media.
Well, that’s easier for me than most. Since I don’t vote I don’t need to care about the issues. Because I know the issues are not anything I can do something about, since my vote would count for nothing if I voted, and whatever’s going to happen would happen regardless of how the voting goes.
We know this because Obama was voted in to stop the trends that Bush set, and he just continued them. So whichever gets in can be expected to continue them. So things will just continue to go downhill no matter how terrified I am – showing that my being terrified does absolutely no good at all.
So I say to myself, “Stop being terrified. These terrorists do not want to die. If anything was actually putting their lives and livelihoods in danger, they’d do something about it. Therefore, anything they’re not doing something about must be nine tenths fiction. So let them worry about their own survival. Because, if they’re actually so dumb as to make the world go away, I’m not going to want to be living without a world. So I’ve nothing to lose.”
On the other hand, if we assume they’re just actors and not really as dumb as they make themselves out to be in order to terrify us, we are faced with the more interesting prospect that the world is actually going to be here a while, and what are we going to do with it? Only if we have this assumption is there any reason to get up feeling creative in the morning.
The weirdest thing of all is the letdown after a terrorist attack – where you actually find yourself saying, “Wait a minute. Where’s that 10 day blackout you promised me? Where’s all that gay education in schools you promised I was going to be so upset by? Where are all those Muslims and Mexicans you promised were going to ruin my life? I feel cheated. I got an armory stocked for this damn race war you promised. Don’t tell me now you don’t mean to deliver.”
But they say, “Don’t sweat it. We lucked out. The trouble isn’t coming. Stand down and be cheerful.” But all you can do is sit around brooding about all the preparations you made for nothing. Makes you almost want to trip the main circuit breaker for 10 days just to camp out and use up all the provisions you laid in. What those other folks might do to get over being deprived of the opportunity to kill some Muslims, Mexicans or Gays is not something I even like to think about.
What I should have done was employ some common sense when they started talking about 50 mile an hour winds, when the last hurricane to come through was boasting 70 mile an hour winds.
The worst hurricane to hit my area was Agnus back in ’74. During which one of our trees fell on a neighbor’s car and our basement took on a couple inches of water. In all the time since then, not one of the newfangled super storms they’ve thrown at us has even come close to causing that level of damage. You might think I’d have it in my head by now that, in spite of how close to the ocean I live, I’m not in an area that is terribly susceptible to damage from hurricanes and freak storms.
And that same realization is probably true for every other form of terrorism you encounter these days – even on up to buildings being knocked down. That’s a groovy distraction, but it doesn’t sensibly translate to a fear that we’re actually at war with somebody and about to be invaded and taken over. You’d think most people would realize we’re just too big and too well positioned for that to be attempted successfully. But with just a little push from the media our imaginations will take us there, and lead us to support causing exactly the things we fear to happen to us to other people half way around the world that we don’t even really know.
What a crazy, fearful species we’ve allowed ourselves to become, devoid of any common sense or rationality – just fear. And that’s why, if our world continues to suck and go downhill, it’s not because you voted for the wrong party, it’s because you allowed the terrorists to scare you into throwing good money after bad by voting for any party at all. When what you should have been doing was having the brains to fire the lot of them for the ineffectual do-nothings they all are. But you never will, as long as they keep you scared.
Of course, the funny thing is, one has to wonder how scared certain people would be if we ever just flat out got tired of being scared. Think of all the industries and political careers that would crash. Maybe that’s why they work so hard to keep us all in this debilitating state of fear, because deep down they’re just plain terrified . . . of us.
Anyway, while you all go out and vote your fears, I will be in hiding, for a week or two maybe – however long it takes to get my head back together from the taffy puller I’ve subjected it to. Then I’ll be back on Spectral Shadows Brainstormers to finish my outline of the serial to come.