Thursday, August 06, 2009

THE DAY AFTER MANANA

At first, it seemed as though things were getting back to normal here in our desert paradise.



The steady stream of house guests we endured over the late spring and early summer had finally slowed into nothing more than a barely penicillin-worthy trickle -



- and such a sense of tranquility had fallen around our glamorous mid-century Alexander that even my houseboy Panton -



- still in a state of mourning over the passing of The Gloved One last month -



- was actually able to listen to a few bars of “Thriller” without collapsing into a sobbing mess.

So you can imagine my chagrin when, after an evening of literate conversation with noted author David Marlow -



- and famed screenwriter Barry Sandler -



- had devolved into a Margarita-a-thon of “Bill W.” worthy proportions -



- and left me rather, shall we say, "vulnerable" to violent sensations, the peace and quiet of the morning was shattered by the clang of the doorbell ricocheting painfully off my pounding skull and sending Panton, still not yet able to summon the courage to venture anywhere NEAR the front portico, scurrying to hide under a pool side chaise lounge.

I bellowed for The Boyfriend but he had already left for work - he is, as has been previously reported, a prominent local businessman and has little or no time for what he refers to as “your nonsense around here!” -



- and while Crawford The Dog has developed into a vital part of the household, he is still, as of this writing, unable to open doors. Thus it fell upon me to find out the identity of our unwelcome early morning intruder.

Slipping into a sarong and putting on a pair of Prada sunglasses for protection from the ghastliness of the early morning sun, I swung the front door open and was immediately accosted - “greeted” seems too genteel a word for the onslaught of blessings thrust upon me- by a pair of rather morbidly overdressed ladies with the sort of blank-eyed smiles one only sees in the devoutly religious or the recently lobotomized.



They had, so they said, some VERY good news for me.

Now MY idea of good news is a truckload of Belvedere vodka driven by half-naked Marines breaking down in front of my house, perhaps, or discovering that recent GQ coverboy and “actor” Channing Tatum can’t live for another moment without giving me a hot oil massage.



But from the looks of the two dears teetering on their heels before me in the housecat-disintegrating heat of mid-day, I had a feeling that they didn’t necessarily share my passions.

“Did you know that the world is going to end?” the slightly more generously proportioned of the two asked me. “Did you know it’s going to end soon?”



Now I have heard, as I imagine have you, dear reader, about the most recent “Doomsday” prediction making the rounds of the Supermarket Checkout Literary circles.



Apparently, according to the Mayan Calendar, the earth is going to come to some sort of shattering conclusion on or about the year 2012.



However, before you begin cancelling your magazine subscriptions and buying a houseful of new furniture on a “Don’t Pay A Cent Until 2013” credit plan, I would respectfully suggest that we have been down this road before.

Does anyone out there remember “Y2K”, for example?



That was the fin de siecle event with a soundtrack by Prince -



- wherein the world’s computers were all supposed to simultaneously seize up -



- thus thrusting the human race back into the pre-Internet Dark Ages, forcing us all to survive without email, free penis enlargement offers and Keyboard Playing Cats.



(A dear friend of mine actually went so far as to buy twenty acres of uninhabitable land somewhere in New Mexico and proceeded to build a self-sufficient compound in which he planned to ride out the Apocalypse on a diet of canned food, bottled water and pornographic videotapes; last I heard he was trying to turn the place into a “spa”, but it seems nobody was interested in traveling to a sand-blasted bunker seven hours from Taos just to have their blackheads squeezed.)

Going a little further back, the Jehovah’s Witnesses - surely the least attractive of all the Door Knocker Cults - promised the “World Without End” would in fact “End” sometime late in 1973.



This, like the time-traveling arrival of a spaceship full of verbalizing chimpanzees prophesized for that same year in the film “Escape From The Planet Of The Apes”, also turned out to be rather unfulfilled wishful thinking.



With the arguable exception of certain Republican politicians, we have yet to see talking apes.



But the creme de la creme of Armaggedeon harbingers surely must be the long-anticipated return of Jesus Christ Himself.



Three days in a cave obviously wasn’t enough time to get all the paperwork together for a global “sayonara”, so the faithful have been waiting lo these past two millenia for Him to return, Norma Desmond-like -




- and according to some religions flatten the place and start over -



- or, according to others, take the True Believers up to Heaven -



- and leave the heathens to stew in their own sinful juices for all eternity.



Frankly, one has to feel sorry for the Fundamentalist Christians; they’re rather like the Ugly Girl on Prom Night, sitting there all dressed in their finest, waiting for their date to show up and take them to the much-anticipated Big Dance In The Sky.



But after two thousand and some odd years of sitting around in an increasingly moldy gown, it’s starting to look as if they’ve been stood up.

One wonders if perhaps Jesus got a better offer someplace else.

But unfortunately for the Doomsday Brigade, this most recent "End Of The World" seems to be having a hard time capturing the public’s imagination.

Goodness knows all the usual fear-mongers have done their best; magazine covers, Internet reports, even an all-too-predictable Roland (”Day After Tomorrow”) Emmerich “film” is currently rumbling toward your local Cineplex with the pandering tag-line: “Who Will Be Left Behind?”



- (which begs the classic Horror Movie reply: “And what will be left of them?”).



But so far, people don’t seem to be up at night fretting about the possibility of having to spend the rest of their years roaming the burnt-out husk of civilization, fending off the sexual advances of renegade bike gangs-



- and dining on leftover neighbors.



Maybe we’ve got too much to worry about in our own lives - with unemployment, mortgage foreclosure and the divorce of that reality show couple with the eight kids all hovering over our heads, who has TIME to think about the planet blowing up?



My theory is simpler than that. This current End Of Times is, as I mentioned, based on a date provided by a Mayan Calendar which simply stops at the end of 2012.



Ergo - so the believers insist - that must mean we will too. But given the fact that the Mayan race evolved into, amongst other things, Mexicans -



- I think it’s safe to say we don’t have much to worry about. Having visited Mexico on several dozen occasions and having experienced first hand that culture’s rather “elastic” sense of time-



- I have learned that even though the word “manana” might literally mean “tomorrow”, in practical application it actually means sometime later next week.



So while the Mexican calendar may have scheduled the fin del mundo for 2012, you can bet nothing even remotely apocalyptic is going to happen until at least 2014...and even then only if you call in advance and remind somebody.

But I wasn’t about to argue all of this with the religiously inclined ladies standing in my doorway; I doubt they would've been interested anyway, given that all they REALLY wanted was to offer me salvation in return for a small donation to help with their Missionary work around the world.

They seemed so sincere that I didn’t have the heart to tell them, in my opinion, the best use of Missionaries was as a main course for Cannibals.



And so I simply smiled graciously and explained to them that as a homosexual with a hangover, I was likely not the best candidate for their sales pitch on this particular morning and, frankly, if the world was going to come to an end, could they please arrange to have it do so quietly?



I let the door close upon their rather startled faces and returned to my bed with a handful of Advil, some Gatorade and only the vaguest sense of guilt about not giving them a dime. But, I figured, if they were True Believers, they surely wouldn't let this small failure prevent them from continuing on with their Mission.

Manana is, after all, another day.

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