10 August 20XX
My Dear Lucilius:
We are in the high dudgeon days of summer now: heat punctuated by thunderstorms. My garden is grateful for the rain of course, but it does make it a bit dicey to go out and do anything during a given day.
Not that I let this halt my activities, of course. I have re-organized everything to the point that I have nothing to re-organize. I have pulled everything off of its shelf and dusted it. When I have had a clear afternoon, I have examined the bee hives and thoroughly weeded the garden.
The items that I ordered on the InterWeb – at least some of the first batch – have started to arrive. They, too, are being carefully filed away. I think perhaps two more week cycles of mail and there will be nothing else coming.
And still, I have time left over.
I have spent more of it lately perusing the InterWeb – not so much for more things to order, as I have reached my current limit in the event that this is only a test drive for the real emergency and I have to continue to exist in the modern economy, as to review what people are saying out there in the great big world.
In short, people are uncertain and afraid.
The government is not helping this, of course. Their press releases are as vague and reassuring as you would expect any government's to be: they are “closely monitoring” the situation and urge people to remain calm. To the contrary, people are not: rumors of shortages and bank holidays are almost minute by minute occurrences in the chat rooms and mail lists of the InterWeb where the government does not seem to reach.
I do find it somewhat eerie that a great deal of what I can see of international news reflects the experience here: were I in France or Russia or Australia, I see much of the same fear and government response/non-response. People are afraid. They hear rumors of famine and peril and the inability to feed themselves and the governments of the world do little – if anything – to resolve that fear. As if they simply wish it to go away by ignoring it.
Not surprisingly, the “Survivalist/Economic Ruin” groups on line are oscillating between a “This is it!” mentality and patting themselves on the back for having seen this coming. I am not sure of whether or not “this” is it; what is saddening and (frankly) deeply disturbing is to see the number of people taking what I can only interpret as glee in the current mental anguish and potential actual anguish of their fellow citizens.
It is one thing to be prepared for any eventuality. It is another to take pleasure in the actual suffering of others. As Nieztche said, “Whoever fights monsters should see to it in the process that one does not become a monster.”
Your Obedient Servant, Seneca