And lo, Aunt Ruth is besieged by visions. Visions born from too much E.O. Wilson, too much Al Gore, too many deniers, all bashing around her subconscious and breaking into her dreams. Were she only able to keep her angst penned up within a 400-word column, but no.
Auntie Ruth’s dreams seeth unto The Year 20Something/Other. The icebergs melt and the waters rise and the sun is a singe and the crops are failing and the refugees are fleeing in all directions and the economy tatters and gasoline is scarce and industry stills and it’s just like Y2K, but less idle hand-wringing and more shock.
And in her vision, which taketh place mostly in her garage, Aunt Ruth has four bags of rice, a wall of canned goods, a water purifier, matches, wood, a solar-battery recharger, a solar-powered laptop, a transistor radio, a lantern that runs forever on not much, a Coleman stove, needle and thread, and big ol’ scraps of cloth.
And still, that is not enough. While yer Auntie is a subject of an excellent humanities education, she has never planted vegetables, doesn’t sew a lick, is essentially useless should the purifier break, and by 20Something/Other won’t be able to bend over low enough to pull a weed.
And lo, unto Auntie comes another sweet vision—hey you, cometh closer. Her garage is missing the crucial element. Her garage is missing … Big Tom “El Dude” Bertowsky. That’s the ticket: Auntie Ruth needs that guy who lives out in the garage. He who can plant and sow and fix any damn thing and is good with a crowbar and a hard drive. You know, that guy.
Ah, what’s in it for Big Tom? Communal magnanimousness! While Big Tom fixes the solar panels, Auntie Ruth will contribute in her own essential way! Why, Auntie Ruth is writerly; how would Big Tom like a nice poem? Or Auntie Ruth can strum a guitar or do a little dance about happier times, like the weekend the movie Michael Clayton came out and everybody ate tapas.
And lo. Thereth lieth the vision of Yer Auntie. A wrecked planet, a garage well-stocked with rice, beans and Big Tom Bertowsky. Two roads diverged into a wood, Big Tom. How’s the purifier doing?