Waiting for New Year’s Day

It's hard to describe how I've been feeling lately without using words like "apocalyptic," or at the very least "gloom" and "doom" in some combination. It's not just the economic meltdown, or the particular brand of craziness that the election brings to the mix. It's something more generalized. It was startling today, for instance, to come across this post at Ferule and Fescue after I'd been thinking more or less the exact same thing. Like Flavia, I've had the feeling before, but it's gotten worse of late. I can't tell how much of the apocalyptic mood has to do with current events and how much of it is exacerbated by my having just uprooted myself and moved to a new place. But I don't think I'm alone in feeling the malaise.

I've been thinking of the panic over the Y2K bug, another point when people (some people, anyway) thought the End of the World was at hand. I remember eating dinner in a Chinese restaurant in Ann Arbor in 1999 while two men opposite talked earnestly about stockpiling bottled water and canned goods. I remember spending that New Year's Eve with my friend R. in New York, winding up in an obscure little bar on the Lower East Side and clinking our ritual New Year's Eve champagne glasses when the world didn't dissolve into anarchy as midnight. I remember how hazy and sunny and relaxed the city felt when we went out in search of bagels and lox the next morning. (It was a warmer-than-usual first day of January, back before I automatically associated weather like that with global warming.)

And I think probably the same thing will happen again, the worst fears unrealized for now, doomsday deferred again. The only thing is, there's no definite end date to the malaise, no New Year's Day to mark the point where we know the apocalypse won't happen this time. Nor is any of this likely to turn out to be nothing after all.

How about the rest of you? It's not just me, right? Anyone found a way to fend off the apocalyptic willies?

3 Responses to “Waiting for New Year’s Day”

  1. Johanna says:

    I, too, have been feeling the same way. My mother and I have decided that since we can’t invest in gold, we’re investing in food. We’re buying a case of each of the canned goods we use regularly when they go on sale at our co-op. By the time we’re finished eating a case, the price most likely will have gone up, seeing how food prices worldwide are spiraling upwards. My sister lives in Dubai, and food prices there have gotten really out of hand.
    I’m staying put at my job, since I have job security here, rather than going looking for that first professional librarian position in order to make more money to pay off students loans, but risk being the “first out” when budgets get cut and I am the victim, as the “last in.” I’m also not thinking about moving out of my mom’s house anytime soon.
    However, all that said, I took a cheap vacation up to visit a friend in the Adirondacks last week, and stopped listening to quite so much NPR, Democracy Now!, Thom Hartmann and Randi Rhodes. I was surprised to see how much less stressed I was simply by cutting out all that news of doom and gloom. Trying to remember that now that I’m back in my “normal life.”

  2. I’ve been having the completely irrational thought that if we’re heading into another Great Depression, everything is going to turn to black and white. So, like Frederick, I’m hoarding colors.

  3. Amanda says:

    The canned-goods-in-bulk strategy sounds like a good one, given how my grocery bills keep going up and up. I’ve never been more grateful for having been raised to be frugal.
    TE, I hadn’t quite pictured life in black and white, but I can sort of see what you mean! Like The Wizard of Oz before Dorothy gets to Oz…