I don’t think that any more. The roads the deserted, the streets are empty. The only place of congregation is now the supermarket where frightened people pin themselves against the refrigeration units as you pass in an aisle that’s less than two metres wide. Outside my house and in my shed sit the cars I used to drive, all silent, quietly draining their batteries as the dust gathers.
It feels like the end of days. But, of course, it’s not. There will be plenty reading this who remember our cities turned to rubble and global catastrophe that lasted not a few months, but many years. And there is much to be learned from them: my in laws, both nearer 90 than 80, are unbelievably sanguine about the whole thing. Yes, they are completely isolated but they have each other, a garden to tend and limitless ways of communicating with their children, grandchildren and chums. They don’t feel hard done by, they feel blessed and think only of those less fortunate than themselves which, the way they tell it, is pretty much everyone. It’s inspiring stuff.
Even so, this morning I found myself awake in the small hours, haunted by the prospect of what might be, even if, in all probability, it never will. And in my 3:00am living nightmare, there was no more driving to be done. It was all over. We’d realised the error of our ways, and we’d all been set to work the land to support the agrarian economy of our future. You can see the way my mind works at such an uncivilised hour.
But, we were at least allowed a final farewell, a cigarette on the scaffold of our former existence. One car, one road, just once. And that would be that. What would you drive and where would you drive it?