The Ice Man Cometh.

Time to Settle Accounts

April 4, 2011: The Ice Man Cometh.

After the meeting was over and everyone departed, I looked at General and said, “I don’t like seeing the date ‘2012’ in print.” I was researching upcoming academic schedules for the purposes of autumn concert booking, and seeing the headline ‘2011-12 school year’ on site after site was worrisome. “I don’t necessarily believe in any of the end-of-the-world stuff,” I said. “But I feel like living through that year and constantly seeing it on calendars and newspapers and movie posters and hearing others discuss it will either cause me to tread lightly or to snap and go the other way.”

“Like freaking out and just doing whatever?” G asked.

“Precisely.”

“But you don’t really believe it?”

“I feel like maybe we’re overreacting to all of these disasters. I mean, is the total increasing, or are we just hyper-aware of each one because of the personal broadcasting capabilities now available with twitter and youtube?”

“I just don’t remember so many of these events happening at the same time. Do you?” General walked to the kitchen counter and began preparing a smoothie: orange, banana, frozen strawberries, ice cubes, carrot juice. “Katrina was terrible, but that was the only thing that was happening right then. And there was the earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia, I think the year before.

“But now it seems like every few weeks we’ve got a new one. Haiti, New Zealand, Japan. We had the heat wave in Russia. We had the snowstorm here with cars on Lake Shore looking like, you know, straight out of an end-of-the-world movie.”

“Okay, okay,” I said, “so do you see a relationship between the rise in these natural events and the increase in political and social uprisings? Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya…”

“See, to me, that’s the same. People are always – ” he finished blending and grabbed two glasses. “You want one, right?”

“Please.”

He resumed. “All that stuff, the protests and everything – to me, that’s all the same. People are always going crazy on each other. It’s the weather that’s different.”

He poured two smoothies and brought them back to the table. “What we have to worry about is the ice age,” he said.

“You think that’s what’s gonna be?”

“That’s what I’ve heard.”

I looked around G’s apartment, studying the walls. “We’re better equipped to deal with that than the last guys. At least we have these domiciles.”

“Dog, you think a studio apartment in Bucktown is helping out with the ice age? Come on dog. They found people frozen solid in blocks of ice.”

“So what are you saying? That there was a massive flooding, and then just as quickly, a massive freezing?”

G laughed. “Yeah, okay.”

“If someone got frozen, that’s because they were outside.” I took another sip of smoothie. “Remember when the snowstorm was going to hit, and everyone tried to make their plans of where they wanted to be snowed in by traveling the day before? Like how Carrie and I decided to be snowed in at her place. That’s how it’s going to go. We’re just going to have to round up as many people as possible and find some place warm.”

We sat in silent thought for a moment, enjoying the ends of our smoothies and considering our survival options.

So if you have access to shelter, how do you die in an ice age… I said under my breath. “Oh, duh,” I said aloud. “You starve to death.” I looked at G. “We’ll starve to death. Maybe it won’t be the cold that gets us, but we’ll starve. The food will run out, and then people will start eating people…”

“And then the people will run out,” he said.

“That’s why you need a gun in your survival hut. That way you can fend off the cannibals, or simply kill yourself once the odds are stacked the wrong way.”

“Don’t want to be around for the Last Days, I wouldn’t imagine,” General said. He finished his smoothie, and I finished mine, and he took our empty glasses to the sink. “So is it even worth it to hoard canned goods and pistols and round up our friends in a bunch of houses or apartments? Can modern man survive an ice age? Do we even know when the next one is coming? Or what caused the last one?”

I hurried to facebook, searching for someone who could help us. “You know what?” I said. “Carrie’s cousin is a geologist. We were discussing some of this stuff on St. Patty’s Day. Let me ask him a few questions. Hold on.”

April 12, 2011: We get our answers.

NEXT: Once upon a time. (4.6.11)

PREVIOUS: A dormant Cubs fan’s last request. (3.28.11)

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