My name is Marjorie and I’m addicted to travel. Right now however I am not traveling. I’m cowering on my couch in a near fetal position, blanket over my head. Denying my existential fear of the end of me…and the end of the world as we presently experience it.
Well to be more honest, I’m sitting up on my couch with all of the windows open, drinking some good strong coffee and enjoying the high desert dawn. My friendly cricket is chirping away, and I’m having skinny pizza and book talk with best friends later. So what’s that existential whine about anyway? It’s like this. One moment or day or year you realize that soon you will cease to exist…when you know the end is nigh…irreversible. That’s pretty fear-inducing. Existential fear.
Dying leaf … for which only I am to blame…not all of mankind.
Okay so there’s that. But when I extend the concept to include humankind’s apparent desire to kill the world…well that really ups the ante. Here are the most recent catalysts for my bad feelings.
Day before yesterday I went to my doctor to talk about listlessness/a certain lack of zest/low-grade gloom! Anemia was being considered. Turns out all things related to my blood and vital signs are in excellent condition. Good news—except that the twinge and itch of anxiety is still coming and going, and this lackadaisical approach to each day continues. Yeah, well I had that birthday this year, the one where I got old; part of the problem perhaps. My young doctor agrees—but then what does she know about ‘old’?
Night before last I continued watching season seven of Homeland. Lately these are the shows I’ve been streaming, Handmaid’s Tale and Homeland. The first is acknowledged as a dystopian drama and the latter generally fits into that category, especially as it moves into seasons six and seven. Homeland is right now. Handmaid’s Tale a future we can’t quite imagine yet…well, we can sort of imagine it can’t we? Just a little? Nah. Maybe?
Yesterday I read a review of a new British show, Years and Years, described as dystopian realism that keeps “forcing us into the future, as the economy crumbles, the ice caps melt, authoritarianism rises, and teenagers implant phones into hands. It’s an alarmist series, in a literal sense: it’s meant to serve as an alarm, an alert to what’s going on in front of our eyes, and where that might lead, if we don’t wake up.” Can’t wait, my kind of show. Bring it on dystopiophiles…
Last night I watched the second night of the Democratic primary debates. My Democrats. The ‘gods’ I signed up for when JFK said “Ask not….” So over the two nights, like all of you, I had a few smiles, a few proud hopeful moments, and also—maybe this is just me—a foreboding that we’re not going to get out of this alive. The candidates said good things here and there. But the only glimmers of hope that they were actually ‘getting it’ (the dystopianness of our present trajectory) came from Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Andrew Yang . They were the only big idea people and, I fear, we may need substantially greater numbers of powerful visionaries to avoid the dystopias of my favorite TV series.
The spider spray killed the poor cricket too. There’s a lesson here.
Where am I going with this? I’ve just said I’m old and I’m scared—but before the world and me end…I’ll travel some more. I feel better just thinking about it. Travel as therapy. Alleviator of fears.
Next month (during the next debates), I’ll be traveling the Silk Route, at least an Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan piece of it. I’ll catch up with our political dramas on-line…anxious to know if just the right voice to quell my fears has emerged. And I’ll be pleased to be where I am before China’s New Silk Road Initiative changes the Stans area beyond recognition—that is if Putin hasn’t sent in the bombs by then to maintain Russia’s Central Asian influence.
I’ve added a new mission to my travels. Looking for sanctuaries to which we may flee when the boys at the top (with Pence as their leader) have made it possible for the name change from USA to the Republic of Gilead to go into effect.