Dance Parties, Fast Food and Other Pros of the Apocalypse

By now, it’s hopefully safe to say that I survived Judgment Day 2011. It isn’t much of a shock: the Book of Wikipedia clearly outlines the history of Apocalypse predictions, which far predates minister Harold Camping’s own $100-million premonition (and, somewhat remarkably, the 92-year-old minister himself). Camping wasn’t the first to cry “rapture!” — an abridged history includes a Baptist minister proclaiming the end in 1844 and a “Korean group” calling it in 1992. Sir Isaac Newton’s still holding out for 2060.

I’m not one of the untold thousands who prepared for the worst on Saturday. Some maxed out credit cards to embark on the cross-country road trip they’d long put off; others, like New York City transit worker Robert Fitzpatrick, depleted over $100,000 in savings to help spread Camping’s word. I didn’t even bother to set my iPhone to Britney Spears’s “Till the World Ends.”

All the billboards on the I-5 advertising Judgment Day (many of which boast a gold seal that reads: “The Bible Guarantees It”!) did, however, get me thinking about what I might do were the end actually imminent. Would I head north to say a final goodbye to my family in the Bay Area? The option’s probably the most honorable. Like a solider heading to battle, I could kiss my baby siblings a tearful goodbye and tell my mother to be brave for me — we’d be better off on the other side. (Or she would: I might tip at Starbucks and help the occasional old lady with her groceries, but I can’t claim innocence of some of the kookier parts of Leviticus. Whoever authored that bit about shellfish probably never had a lobster burrito.)

But Camping, before going into hiding on the big day, was adamant that 6 p.m. local time would mark the end everywhere, and there’s never any telling how long it might take to get through L.A. I wouldn’t want to chance traffic on the drive north: The thought of meeting my maker at the Kettleman City Jack in the Box isn’t my idea of a graceful way out; I wouldn’t consider curly fries and a diet coke the last supper of dreams, either.

So home’s out. And there may be a handful of cameraphone worthy natural sights in San Diego, but no slice of coastline — no matter how calm the breeze or memory-searing the public nudity — has really colored my time here as much as a handful of rabblerousing coeds in the second-grimiest corner of the Old Student Center. They’re the ones who have initiated a thousand spontaneous dance parties and as many 2 a.m. burrito runs, and who, rapture or not, I won’t be seeing much of after this quarter. Given the circumstances, I can’t imagine a happier ending than dancing ‘til the world ends with them. (And if, as Newton predicted, I’ve got another five decades of bad pop and good company ahead of me, I’m not complaining, either.)

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