While deep in a nerdy conversation about the nihilism depicted in indy horror and sci-fi, a friend opined that none of us will ever know the end of the world until it happens. This same friend was disappointed in my less than enthusiastic impressions of fictional dystopia.
No film or book can capture the sight, smell, and sound of a burning oil field. What I thought were pools of water left by the fireman turned out to be thick corroded oil that gave off a heat I felt through the gloves of my protective suit. These kind of fires aren’t put out by water, they’re put out by dynamite and chemicals. I can still see my reflection in that oil every time I buy something in colored plastic or put gas in my car. Dead birds get stuck in it and die. So many bird carcasses stuck in the mire, I thought they were rocks until I noticed the feathers.
Through my breathing gear, I caught a hint of the smell. To me it’s an odd mix of highway tar and bad fish. I never removed my MBA (mobile breathing apparatus) because the civilian firemen never removed theirs. To combat the smell I stopped inhaling through my nose, an easy task when I concentrated on the sound my boots crunching over the sand. I learned that when sand gets hot enough it turns to glass. I had no comprehension for the term scorched earth until that moment. Fire, smoke, heat, death, and devastation as far as the eye could see.
I lack an appreciation for dystopia because I’ve already seen the end of the world.