A Brief Glimpse Of Life After The Apocalypse

Armageddon. The Apocalypse. Christians have heard these words occasionally uttered since they were children. Most of them know those words are typically associated with the Book of Revelations. However, prophesies of the end of days can be found in practically every religion.

Even non-religious people (including Hollywood) have some doomsday cataclysmic scenario conceptualized that involve zombies or radioactive mutants, but the common theme of every scenario where life as we currently know it ceases to exist, and we might eventually “devolve” into some primitive, subhuman species. You know, like zombies…or Antifa people. There are a number of scenarios by which the end of the world might come, including nuclear war and natural disasters. After my experiences of the past several days, my personal preference would be that in any apocalyptic scenario, our current location would be the initial point of impact, in order to put my family and me immediately out of our misery. To be brutally honest, we would not make very good doomsday survivors.

Here, this journal written over the past week ought to prove my point…

Day 1 (9/11)

Time: Approximately 2:15 p.m.

Log Entry: We lose (gasp!) electricity and Internet service. It’s okay, though. We’ve lost power before. The longest previous outage in this current house was almost eight hours – to the point we’d begun to get irritable and had to go out for dinner. Oh, well. Could be worse. It could be raining.

Oh yeah, it is raining.

As I like to say, suck it up, buttercup.

Time: Approximately 8:15 p.m.

Log Entry: Still no power. I’ve located every candle, flashlight, and carton of batteries that I can find that were scattered all over the house. Wife figured out how to light gas stove without electric starter (matches) and cooked breakfast for dinner, so at least we don’t go to bed hungry. She also fills the tub with water, so the cat hair floats on the surface. I look at it and decide I’d rather die of thirst. Thank God I keep a supply of bottled water from Costco. Now bored to tears, so time to brush teeth and get ready for bed.

Surely power will come back during the night. Things will be better in the morning.

Surely.

Day 2 (Tuesday 9/12)

Time: 5:00 a.m.

Log Entry: I’m getting tired of repeating the obvious. No electricity sucks. My wife sleeps well, about as hard as I do under anesthesia. I toss and turn, and then start to fidget. I realize that I’m going through withdrawal symptoms, craving my creature comforts. How did people write before we had computers?

Oh yeah, paper and pen. That sounds so…quaint. Well, if I get that desperate, I’ll look for a notebook and pen.

Of course, they’d be much easier to find if I could turn on the lights.

Time: 11:00 a.m.

Log Entry: We had breakfast again for breakfast, before my wife and son went off to work (because their places of employment still had power), leaving me alone with the dogs. Who are all bored, and want to be entertained. So we go for a walk.

The cat was irritable on our return, because she’d been left behind. This cat does not like to be picked up, and only appreciates affection on her terms. You want to try to put a leash on Ms. Blossom and take her for a walk, be my guest. In my opinion, though, it would be a much more productive use of your time to just donate that blood to the Red Cross instead of dripping it all over my living room floor.

Don’t expect me to clean up your blood, either. A man’s got to know his limitations.

Time: 12:10 p.m.

Log Entry: Perhaps divine intervention had kept my phone battery power at 17 percent for hours, in spite of probably up to a dozen text messages, several phone calls, and about 3,000 touches of a button to illuminate the display, for the purposes of checking the current time. It occurs to me that I can recharge the battery in the van while listening to Rush Limbaugh, and at least went back into a dark house with a fully charged battery.

Time: 6:00 p.m.

Log Entry: According to research, the food in our refrigerator is no longer edible. If only I’d listened to Ron Paul and bought one of those freeze-drying machines, I could be eating ice cream right now, instead of Panda Express — dinner is delicious, and contains neither ham, bacon, nor eggs. Yeah!

Time: 8:15 p.m.

Log Entry: I think it might be time to hide the sharp objects from my perpetually cheerful wife, because I’m pretty sure I’ve gotten on her last nerve. Again, for as many nights in recent memory, we go to bed before the sun has set, because without Internet or television, we had nothing else to do. I really want a hot shower.

Time: Approximately 10:00 p.m.

Log Entry: We have power! Rejoicing can be heard throughout the land, or at least from the second floor to the basement in our house. My wife and I both jump out of bed and literally dance to celebrate. I reset the clocks. I turn on the television, and confirm that DirecTV works. I turn on my computer…What? No Internet?

Day 3 (Wednesday)

Time: 12:25 a.m.

Log Entry: Comcast customer service has an undeserved reputation for incompetence, in my estimation. Their representative explains that a major outage occurred due to a damaged transformer that could not be replaced until Thursday. In the interim, we were advised to connect to an Infinity hotspot. After numerous attempts to patiently talk me through the process of connecting to the hotspot, the representative finally realized that I wasn’t a total moron and that there wasn’t a hotspot close enough to the house for us to connect to the Internet.

The technical acronym for this particular issue is S. O. L. However, our problem has been escalated, and we were told that a hotspot expert would contact us later, in retrospect presumably to get us off the phone.

Time: 10:00 a.m.

Log Entry: Using my cell phone I check the Comcast website and discover that the repair originally estimated to be fixed by Thursday was ahead of schedule and should be ready by 6:00 p.m. I’m starting to feel like a junkie going through withdrawal symptoms, but at least I know when I’ll get my next fix. Even better, Comcast promises to send me a text message when the Internet is up and running again.

Time: 5:00 p.m.

Log Entry: Good news! Received the text message.

The bad news? It lied.

Time: 8:25 p.m.

Log Entry: My experience with Comcast customer support reminds me of a favorite joke, which goes like this:

Want to solve the drug problem? Here’s an easy set of steps guaranteed to solve the epidemic of illegal drug use. First, legalize drugs. Second, require all drugs be procured through Comcast customer service.

The following is a reasonably paraphrased version of my conversation with Comcast customer service from memory, but reasonably accurate…that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Me: I’m calling because I received a text message from customer service saying that my service has been restored, but I can’t access the Internet.
Comcast: We’re sorry, sir. Due to damage from the storm, your service won’t be restored until September 14th.
Me: Huh? That’s what they said yesterday. Customer service sent me a text message a little while ago saying that my service had already been restored. You’re saying the message was wrong?
Comcast: Yes.
Me: Darn. (The original “transcript” may have involved stronger language.) Okay. False alarm. So, when we spoke to customer service yesterday, your guy said that he could see there wasn’t a hot spot close enough to our house for us to have temporary access through the cloud. He was going to escalate the creation of a hotspot near enough for us to reach. Can I get an update on the status of that?
Comcast: That can’t happen before September 14th.
Me: Say what? By then I won’t need it. Let’s recap our conversation, if you don’t mind: the text message from customer service was in error, and I’m not going to have my service restored today. Nor was my problem “escalated” to some specialist team to create a hot spot for us. That wasn’t true.
Comcast: Yes.
Me: I know this storm has been challenging, but I hope you realize that’s not very good customer service.
Comcast: Yes. Is there anything else I can do for you today?
Me: (Laughing) No. Well, thanks…for nothing, I guess. Oh, I suppose you were polite when you admitted that your fellow customer service people were prevaricating weasels who just wanted to get me off the phone.

Time: 8:25 p.m.

Log Entry: Tempting though it may be to watch my recording of Georgia/Notre Dame football game for the fourth consecutive time, fatigue is starting to take over. Mr. Sandman is playing me a tune, so I wander off to bed.

Day 4 (Thursday)

Time: 10:00 a.m. 

Log Entry: Writing this article has a somewhat cathartic effect. My friend Bill calls to see how my cousin in Miami, who refused to evacuate, fared in Hurricane Irma. I told him that my cousin never even lost power or his satellite television feed.  Bill marveled that we had suffered more inconvenience in Atlanta than my cousin. In the middle of our conversation, I suddenly realized that emails were downloading.

I had approximately 600 unread email messages. And I deleted about 590 of those messages without even bothering to open them.

Log Final Entry: This experience has taught me a valuable lesson…I’ll need at least $5,000 for a good whole house generator.  There is always a chance that we might initially survive a meteor strike, nuclear bomb, or volcanic eruption, and my wife nor I are cut out to “rough” it.

In fairness, I must confess that the reason we have Internet service from Comcast is because AT&T customer service was even worse. Furthermore, until this incident, they’d actually been pretty good.

Obviously this wasn’t their best effort, but in all honesty, the circumstances were rather extenuating…and now that things are more or less back to normal, my demeanor has greatly improved. So I forgive them…grudgingly.

Looking on the bright side, while we had to throw out all  the food in the refrigerator and freezer, I was able to have it as clean as when we bought it, before power was restored.

So now we just need to restock it with food.

Comments

  1. dennis gagne says:

    Great story, and you’re right AT&T is as bad as Comcast. And I hate them both! We just got home to FL after 5 months in NH. So glad to be home and looking forward to Jose and Marie and Lee. Might have them over for dinner, time will tell! I should have purchased a Generator in NH when I had the chance! Uggh!

  2. Norma Taylor says:

    Well written…..enjoyed your journey…afraid none of us would make a good survivor….Enjoyed the read!

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