By Ginger Truitt
Recently, while in Guatemala, I met a man. It just sort of happened. Hubby was at work, and I went down to the hotel’s restaurant to get bottled water for the kids. The small hotel is popular with Americans visiting the capital city, and it’s not unusual to become friendly with the other travelers. Over the years, I have met archaeologists, professors, journalists, travel writers, missionaries, contractors and a number of explorers. But I’d never before met a man quite like this one.
“You from Indianapolis?” he inquired from his barstool perch.
My Colts T-shirt was the giveaway.
“Yeah, I live about a half hour north,” I replied. “And you?”
He took a swig of his Diet Coke.
“St. Louis. Been there my entire life. But if we make it through the holidays, I’m starting a business down here.”
I’ve met people who get depressed about the holiday season, who hate the hustle and bustle, the rush and commercialism; but I’ve never known anyone to base their potential entrepreneurial endeavors on whether or not they survive Christmas.
Later that evening, I noticed the man sitting on the same barstool, nursing another Diet Coke. I introduced hubby, and he stayed to chat while I herded the children to our room. A short time later, he came bursting through the door and exclaimed, “Your new friend is freaking nuts!”
Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon scenario. My mother used to comment on the number of “unusual” personalities I attracted as friends. She called me a bum magnet. Hubby calls me a psycho magnet.
Turns out, my new friend isn’t depressed about the holidays. He is waiting for Dec. 21. If you aren’t already familiar with the significance of that date, allow me to fill you in. Thousands of years ago, the Mayan people made a number of predictions. They also created a calendar. That calendar ends on Dec. 21, 2012. Some experts say the end of the Mayan calendar signifies the end of the world. Others say, the stone wasn’t big enough to continue carving so they simply stopped, not realizing that someday it would really freak people out.
Deep in the Mayan mountains, my friend has built a bunker. Move-in day is Dec. 20. For seven days we made occasional small talk. For seven days, he sat on the barstool, drinking Diet Coke. For seven days, he wore the cut-off jeans and orange Crocs. Even now, as I am back in the U.S. writing this article, I know he is there, sitting with his Diet Coke, wondering if he will have a business after the holidays, and refusing to shower until he knows for sure.
I’ve been approached by others who believe the world will end on Dec. 21. They were actively trying to win me to Jesus. Still others are being a little more pragmatic, figuring they might as well live it up without the worry of long-term consequences. I’ve been invited to two “end of the world” parties on the 21st, and I have 16 Facebook friends who have invited me to be alive on Dec. 22. I don’t intend to let them down.
I don’t fully understand the mindset of people who build bunkers. If you truly believe the world will end, there isn’t much point in protecting yourself or stockpiling 10 years’ worth of food. I guess they only believe it is the end of the world as we know it. And apparently, there is no possibility of waking up to a better world on the day after.
Personally, I would spend time enjoying my family, praying for those who have not yet found peace, and eating Snickerdoodles. I would not count calories, and I sure as heck wouldn’t drink diet soda. Give me a nice, cold, sugar-laden Coca-Cola! Better yet, bring me a steady stream of piña coladas, strawberry daiquiris, and every other frou-frou umbrella drink. I wanted to tell the guy from St. Louis, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!” At the very least, as his friend, I should have mentioned that orange Crocs are the wrong choice of footwear for a man who is going to be responsible for re-populating the entire earth.
Ginger is an author, speaker and mother of five. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.