May 21st had come and gone. I looked around and then I touched my toes. Yup. I was still here. The world didn't end. We survived yet another apocalyptic prediction. I learned in Grand Canyon that life on the brink is like a Technicolor movie. Maybe that's why these guys are always predicting the end of the world—they secretly enjoy the adrenaline buzz.
The guy who'd predicted the end was in the newspaper, his photo on page one. He'd said that most of us would be left to wander a destroyed and godforsaken planet (no, I'm sure I wouldn't make the cut according to this preacher's criteria). Now, on the day after, he claimed that he'd had a "really tough weekend." It must be hard when you were looking forward to massive earthquakes and balls of fire and what you get instead is a beautiful, spring day. It's probably like that one Christmas when I didn't get the train set I was hoping for.
I confess that I was feeling smug on the night of the 21st. Life seemed a little sweeter, the sun a little brighter. Then came the 22nd. It all started out fine and then the wind started to pick up at around 4:00 PM. The trees started to sway, the wind started to whistle. The wind was howling by the time I went to bed. I could not sleep. Then some damned thing on the roof started to bang. With every gust it made a noise. "Whap, whap whap!" Every whap caused the cats to jump which, in turn, made me jump. That made the cats jump again.
"Whap, whap, whap!" My heart started to palpitate. Then two of the cats started to swat at each other. "Whap, whap, whap!" The wind started to howl even louder. My mind started to race. What if the preacher's calculations were simply off by a day? Did he mention anything about howling wind in his predictions? "Whap, whap, whap!" I got up and tried to find some earplugs.
I've always hated the whistle of the wind. It always feels like the end of the world when invisible things start to make noise. Hearing the Grim Reaper knocking on the roof never helps matters. I found an orange pair of earplugs in the dark. I put them in, but could still hear the wind. I could still hear the Grim Reaper. "Whap, whap, whap!" I put on some eye shades just in case the conflagration might start. I'd rather just be consumed and vaporized and not really know about it.
Somewhere between a heart palpitation and a whap—I fell asleep. Some hours later I awoke to stillness and a sleeping, black cat who'd curled up beside me. I yanked off the eye shades to find a bright morning. I sighed a cranky sigh. Thankfully, the morning paper was already here. I made some very strong coffee and sipped it as I read the news. "Coffee tastes so much better after the apocalypse," I thought to myself. My glee was short-lived. There the preacher's picture was again. He was smiling again. The accompanying story claimed that the preacher had recovered from his disappointment. The end was still coming. He'd simply miscalculated. The new date for the apocalypse would be October 21st.
So the fire and brimstone and earthquakes and suffering were still on the way. Thank God for God! I got out my shopping list and added new earplugs to it. I also made a note to go up on the roof and look around. Then I got up and poured more coffee.