I’ve always said that the mark of a good book for me is dreaming about it. Well, maybe I should amend that. Not saying that the book I’ve been “reading” on my commute (via audiobook) isn’t an amazing book. Yikes, it’s wonderful and you should read it if you haven’t. But it’s also disturbing.
Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer is narrated by a girl who is a witness to world cataclysm through her diary. As the world falls apart, she and her family are fairly able to keep themselves together–so far, at least, seeing as how I’m only halfway through it. That’s what I get for listening on audiobook on my commutes.
I’m already feeling the need to eat–usually chocolate and McDonald’s and all the food she can’t get anymore after the moon gets knocked out of its orbit and causes cataclysmic climate change all over the earth–and this morning right before I woke up I dreamed about such cataclysms happening to me. Dreams about needing to get together my food storage (it’s something that my church encourages as part of disaster preparedness, and I also think it’s a general good thing to have enough food on hand to last a year in case of disaster). Dreams about starving to death.
I actually don’t remember much of it by now, but whatever the actual story arc of what I dreamed, the feeling of desperation still remains with me. Especially because the heat is currently out in my house and has been for the last four or five days because of a gas leak. Thank goodness it’s been mostly warm, though the last couple days I’ve spent the evenings in bed under my quilt because it’s cooled down.
But even awake I am kind of obsessed with the idea of what I would do if such a huge worldwide disaster occurred. This is far beyond the apocalyptic ideas of one country losing electricity through a pulse (Dark Angel, which I love, and Jericho, which started out well but I haven’t watched in months because they went in a direction I wasn’t comfortable with). They start losing even the basics that would be able to give them renewable energy. We’re talking *major* cataclysm. Not just losing modern conveniences.
And I also keep thinking about the difference between losing all my modern comforts now and even 20 years ago. Back when I was a kid I used to think “no problem, I could just live as my ancestors did.” And I could have–I lived on a farm, we had animals that could be turned to work, and my grandpa
still had 100 year old farm equipment in his barn that he’d probably never get rid of. Our furnace was still woodburning and our family spent most of our weekend time cutting, splitting, and loading firewood. I know how to age it. I’ve helped my dad build two barns by hand (though with the help of the loader on the tractor for the posts and roof beams). We had a half-acre garden.
Of course, we preserved that food by freezing it, the art of canning long gone. Even then we were dependent on refrigeration.
Well, since then I’ve moved 2000 miles away, and I live in a city like all the people I ridiculed as completely removed from the land. And I’m just as dependent on my electricity and electronic devices as the next city slicker. I could grow things in a garden, no problem. I could teach people how to get firewood, but urban sprawl and population growth and a number of other factors mean that we really wouldn’t be able to just go back to how it was 100 years ago. Back then, people had community and even on a relatively self-sufficient farm, they had needs that could only be met by a supplier of seed or a dry goods store. Transportation involved at least horses and carts, and how many people do you know nowadays who could get their hands on a horse and cart?
So as I listen to the book, I think of all the things I know how to do to cope, and Pfeffer
is taking away those things one by one. What would you do, if faced with this level of calamity? Yikes. Literally gives me nightmares.
At any rate, that’s another episode of Stacy’s Book Recommendations via Dreams. Go read the book and tell me you don’t feel like stockpiling a year’s worth of supplies or more!