Sunday morning I enjoyed a quiet relaxing walk hand-in-hand along the beach front with my girlfriend. On the way back we enjoyed looking at the stalls and were quite surprised to find one peddling religious fundamentalism as if it were a brand new bicycle. Signs pinned to the tent displayed the words "The End Is Nigh" and "It is closer than you think!" along with various other forms of nauseating rhetoric and "Christian nationalist" propaganda. Strangely enough there were a few people actually chatting to the stall owners, enthusiastically grinning from ear to ear, presumably getting finer details of this impending and certain doom, probably with exact time and date and instructions on what to do if "left behind". It was hard for me to resist strolling over and asking what date and time I should put in Google Calendar to mark this event, presumably with a 15 minute reminder just in case I miss it.
I could already see the headlines if this little secret ever got to the press: "World to end Wednesday at 11am - details at 12'. Doomsday cults always remind me of the Ice Age movie - you know the scary bit with those crazy dodo's? (Especialy the tai-kwan-dodo's!!) "Doom on you! Doom on you! Doom on you! Doom - ..." Nevermind. Um.
Now up until this point I had been having a nice day and was quite relaxed, but I have to admit this discovery disturbed me. Having just had a lot to do with the violently anti-gay religious political parties who campaigned vigorously against gay civil rights and equality for the election, it was still all rather fresh in my mind. In fact, I felt like approaching them to ask sarcastically if they had a paper bag to put over my head for when the world ends - preferably one with a hole in it in the appropriate position so that I can kiss my ass goodbye.
Still, I calmed down and walked on, taking in the other sights - you know, the normal people's stalls - the ones not specifically designed to provoke the ire of others - the colors, the sounds, the absence of church bells ringing and so on. And in that context my thoughts turned to my own mortality. People always seem to fear endings - and for some reason they see "the end of the world" and physical death as some sort of end - a dead stop, if you forgive the pun - and nothing after that. As an agnostic I honestly cannot say if this is the case, but if it is, what good would come of me fearing the inevitible?
I look at it this way - everything dies in the end. Everything. I dont mind dying - in fact I look forward to it because then at least everything will be over. Perhaps I may even get a few interesting answers to the questions that will have bothered me all my life, such as "what was it all about", "what was the meaning of life" (and it bloody better not be "42") and if there is a god - and if so, which group of nutters had all the points on their manifestos 100% right and who gets to wear the dunce cap for the next millenium or two. This flippant look at mortality and my indifference towards death doesn't mean I actually want to die - I may be disillusioned about many things, such as religion for example - yet the thought of dying really doesnt worry me. In the meantime I try to make the best of things - and as a GLBTI advocate I do so for others so they do not have to put up with the unnecessary crap I had to on my journey, if you get my meaning. It may sound like a cliche - but I want to see how it all turns out. To see what happens next. And that's all it is, curiosity and a drive to make a diference.
Some say that it is likely nothing happens when you die, that it is just like when a machine stops working, and that's how part of me feels. There's really no reason to think otherwise, though another part of me would like to hope there is some kind of afterlife and some kind of loving god untouched by the hand of human bigotry or one not given by them a face with a hateful snarl or blood-soaked hands. So I just go on walking the path to my destiny, doing the best I can - to me that is what being mortal means.