I’ve been afraid of the Mayan Apocalypse since May 19, 2002, the night I saw the X-Files series finale. Spoiler alert: basically the Cigarette Smoking Man tells Mulder and Scully that the Mayans knew when the aliens were coming, and that was the day — December 22, 2012. (Others say the 21st, so it’ll just be a great weekend of fear.) Mulder and Scully accept their fate, with Scully understanding the truth and Mulder understanding Scully’s faith, and it’s a lovely ending but also SUPER-BLEAK.
And at the time, it was like, well 2012 is so far away. I’ll be twenty-six, I’ll have lived a good life. It’ll be sad to watch my children be eaten by aliens, but at least I’ll have had them and we’ll have been happy. Twenty-six seemed so old.
I later became convinced that, although the aliens probably wouldn’t be coming, some asshole would make it a self-fulfilling prophecy and release anthrax or smallpox into the atmosphere. (Oh, right, that X-Files episode aired THREE DAYS after the ER smallpox outbreak episode, which I watched at least 100 times because Carter and Abby make out at the end of it. This was also shortly after the real-life anthrax attacks and 9/11 and my fifteenth birthday, so it was a rough and strange time all around.)
I have an uncle who believes alien contact is going to happen at some point in the near future, and he came up with a good meeting place for the family for when the inevitable happens. I will not say what the place is, because there is not enough room for all of us. When I moved to the west coast, much of my nervousness was about moving more than a day’s drive from this meeting place. This has evolved, over a period of several years — and through the filming and release of a second X-Files movie that did absolutely nothing to shed light on how Mulder and Scully were going to save us from this –, into a very real sense of dread and fear. I mean, thank God they are going to air the Gossip Girl finale the week before!
For a long time, I have thought about what I’d need to do in December 2012. I have planned to have a full tank of gas, plus extra gas cans in the trunk. Stock up on dog food and non-perishables (so Freckles and I can eat). Watch I Am Legend (research). Buy US and Mexican maps (GPS won’t work).
And now that the time is upon us, a really weird thing is happening — no one is freaking out.
I thought surely people would be hoarding canned goods, that churches would be packed, and that gasoline and other fossil fuels would start becoming scarce right around now. I thought everyone would be worried and scared, and that it would be hard to be away from my parents during these Uncertain Times. And yet … this is not happening. December 2012 has crept up on me, with little fanfare or panic. 13 million Americans watched the series finale of The X-Files, and yet everyone else seems okay.
I mean, I have plans in January. I have work to do in 2013. God willing, both Kate Middleton and Lady Mary Crawley will have babies next year, and the world needs to meet them.
The closer the date comes, the more secure I feel that the end of the world is not actually happening. Which is strange for me, considering I’ve carried this clenched feeling in my heart for over a decade. I’m not really sure what I’ll do when I wake up the morning after The Day and realize the sun is still shining and we’re all still here. Frankly, it’s going to be a little weird, and I won’t be completely convinced until it happens.
I still think I’ll get gas.