Friday, February 19, 2010

Alleluja, spread the cheer

Two days preceding the New Year of 2007, I had returned from winter vacation to my university town, Montreal. The entire city was coated in a thick layer of ice, as Montreal is wont to do, and I sat in my apartment trying to decide what to do while I waited for everyone I knew (including my boyfriend at the time) to return from their respective vacations. So I decided what any sensible twenty-something would do in my situation, that I would get a tattoo.

With ninety dollars in christmas gift money clenched in my apprehensive fist, and a crumpled printed off image in my pocket, I entered Tattoatouage, an ink parlour on St. Denis not far from where I was living. My experience of my first tattoo was very much like the experience of my first cigarette. I did it alone, with only my overactive thoughts as company. Surprisingly, they were able to take me immediately. I motioned to a girl in broken French that I wanted my image on my wrist in the same size. She obliged.

As she buzzed away at my wrist, she asked me the meaning of the tattoo.

"My belief in the apocalypse." I said staunchly.

"L'apocalypse?" She arched an eyebrow, and returned to her work with the same self-righteousness of most non-practicing French Catholics. It was weird, but obviously not weird enough to warrant further discussion.

Half an hour later, I had the omega on my wrist that will be on me until the day I die. Like most things, its meaning has shifted and changed over time. Now, its significance is more that things end. It's an important thing to remember, especially when it seems like you'll be sick forever or that you always fight with your partner. All things have an end, and with that comes a new beginning.

After getting my tattoo and sitting at home alone with it, chanting to myself how awesome it was, I decided to take a bus to Toronto so that I could spend New Years with friends. I packed a bag and headed out. I stayed at my friend Jimmy's place. We went to a very disappointing new years party, and then headed back to Jimmy's apartment to hang out for the rest of the night. Then a certain boy, whom I had met before, came over. We argued about philosophy, anarchy and post-apocalypticism. I proudly showed him my new tattoo, and he reciprocated, showing his tattooed knuckles from when he was a teenager.

Little did I know, that boy would be my future husband and father of my child. So I guess I can thank my tattoo, in a way.

I still believe in the end. I believe that the way things are as we know them are a very temporary state and that we should always be prepared. At the moment I'm putting together an emergency kit for my family. Before you say I'm crazy, you should note that Ontario recommends this. There's even 'emergency preparedness month', though I'm not sure which month that is. I'm sure when we see things like Hurricane Katrina, we think that it couldn't happen to us, but I'm sure they didn't think it would be them either. So here are some tips:
-have at least a three day supply of water on hand for your family. This means one litre of water for each person, each day. Look into proper storage techniques, and remember that water, like food, can go bad.

-a good thing to own is a crank radio, for when the power goes out. Some of these have reading lights too, but keep candles on hand for this purpose also.

-a book, or print-offs, on emergency preparedness. There is often no internet in an emergency!

-non-perishable food stuffs. Mayday makes rations that are good for quite a while, and meet your nutritional requirements. Also Mountain House has canned food that is good for thirty years plus, so you won't have to keep restocking.

-keep small versions of these objects in your car, and make sure your emergency kit in your house can be moved easily in case of evacuation.
I think in Ontario we really assume that nothing will go wrong. Tornados are rare, hurricanes nonexistant, and we aren't over any major fault lines for earthquakes. However, anything can happen, and with a family to protect, I believe it's better to be safe rather than sorry.

So on that note, I'll leave you with my favourite song by Band of Horses, which you can hear here:
The end's not near

It's here
Spread the cheer
And watch the millenarians
Throw a party for a thousand years

You won't see the pious praying
They'll be too busy flaying
All the martyrs with better ways
To stop the world decaying
If you call me I won't be home
I'm hiding from the kingdom come
They can't see everything on earth
With the satellites and the roving drones

This is why hell is underground
Like a reclaimed bad part of town
We don't want to lose our souls
We're the saints who don't want to be found

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