Friday, May 20, 2011

The Day Before

We all walked off the tennis court this morning so delighted that it was raining. This is because we’d just played indoors. It only costs $11.25 apiece for four of us to rent a court for 90 minutes, but still, it would have seemed like a complete waste of money if it hadn’t rained at all.

It was sunny when we got there. In fact it had been sunny since I woke up this morning. It occurred to me that we should probably cancel our court reservation – just play outside – except the forecast was for rain when I booked the court two days ago, and at the time the woman at the desk asked if we could come and play later (because she couldn’t be there at 9:00 to open for us) and we said we couldn’t and she said, never mind, I can get someone else to come in and open for you. So we had to show up. We had prepared for a bad weather tennis day and the fact that it ended up being a perfect-weather tennis day made us all feel sheepish and foolish and a little self indulgent. At least that’s how I felt.

Which brings me to the Rapture.

I hadn’t realized the Rapture was so imminent until earlier this week. “Should I do something?” I asked my husband on Wednesday?

“I don’t think you can really prepare for the end of the world,” he said. And I guess he’s right. At least not in the way that people prepared for Y2K.

And I did prepare for that computer-induced apocalypse in my own way. Not with gold ingots and a bunker full of astronaut food, but mentally, in a kind of quiet acceptance that there, with my not-even-six-month-old next to me in bed, the fireworks heralding this particular New Year may be the first and last he’d ever see.

Tomorrow’s End Of The World doesn’t seem nearly as plausible to me. Even though all the craziness on this planet lately seems to fit a lot of the predictions, I don’t think I’ll be spending any time tomorrow holed up in bed with my kids, holding my breath, hoping it won’t hurt.

But if tomorrow does mark the end of the world – that is, if the saved all fly up to heaven and I’m not one of them and am instead relegated to be here, corporeally, fending off brimstone and pestilence along with my already unwieldy mass of laundry – there is one very sorely missed Hoboken pizzeria that I might have to visit. Their slices are so cheesy and vast that they require two plates to serve them, and I may have to drive over there right away and eat three pieces – four even – and maybe even follow it with an ice cream chaser. Also, I’d try a Dirty Martini. And I’d be doubly grateful that my 11-year-old did not have to get his gums lanced at the oral surgeon’s yesterday. And I’d probably stop lamenting that Steve Carell left The Office.

I guess there might be a few other things, as well.

But those are not really preparations. Those are things I’d do after the fact. After I knew we were all going to hell in a hand-basket, and that we could set our watches by it.

I wondered today, as I walked out into the rain after tennis, whether there was a word for that feeling we all had. The bizarre satisfaction that the worst-case scenario that we’d planned for had, in fact, come to be. If there is, it’s probably German. I imagine it to be a word like schadenfreude, where, when you come to understand its meaning you think, what kind of culture would have that incident happen so often that they actually need a specific word for it?

But a word might come in handy come Sunday, when it seems like there are going to be some people or other who might have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do, and the rest of us might need a way to process the experience. I’m thinking that if anything deserves a post-mortem, it’s the Rapture.

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