If you woke up tomorrow and discovered that everyone else on earth had just disappeared, what would you do?
Eat ice cream and be sad. Probably die after a little bit because I wouldn't know how to survive.
I wake up around 7:30--the latest I can ever sleep in apparently. I get ready for the day, selecting a dress to wear for church. I remember that a girl I met in the ward last Sunday agreed to give me a ride, so I text her. She doesn't respond.
Church will be starting in an hour, and that's how long it takes to walk there, so I leave my apartment to start the trek, making my peace with that the for whatever reason, the girl can't drive me.
Unlike last week, there aren't any cars driving on the road. I don't notice it at first, but after about a half hour into my walk, the sense that something is... off, grows stronger. Once I finally arrive at the church building, I find that the doors are locked, and no one is there. I am seriously unnerved now. Everything feels strangely eerie, and almost dreamlike. I try calling my mom. Then my dad. Then my sister. I go through all my family members and friends saved in my phone.
I frantically message all the ACME group chats. keeping the app open to see as soon as someone has at least read my texts. No one's icon drops down.
After waiting at the church for some hours, I numbly get up and start walking back to my apartment. Tears well up and start flowing down my expressionless face.
It's been about a month since that first terrible day. None of the subsequent days have been better. I often pray to God to simply let me die. Nevertheless, I'm doing my best to stay alive. Luckily my apartment is close to a Walmart, and have enough canned food to survive for some time. I've also started a small vegetable garden, though I don't have high hopes for it.
The only small snatches of happiness I have come from the books I read from the local library.
And now I seriously need to stop writing this answer because it is just too dang depressing a topic to think about, especially because I'm now living by myself, and haven't interacted with anyone all day, and will not have had interactions by the time I go to bed tonight.
I wake up in a hotel in Cuzco Peru. I look over and see the bed next to me is empty. Usually I'm up first, but I figure that my roommate for this trip must have headed off to breakfast. I take the elevator up to the 12th floor and am a little shocked to see that no one is there. Unfortunately, this includes hotel service personnel and all the milk is gone. I grumpily eat my bowl of chocolate cereal sans milk.
I head down to the lobby. No one is there waiting for me. It's still a little early before we head out for a day. As I'm waiting I notice a new question in the inbox "If you woke up tomorrow and discovered that everyone else on earth had just disappeared, what would you do?". I chuckle to myself about the ridiculous hypothetical and I leave a placeholder answer. About an hour passes and no one from my group has shown up yet. Reality starts to dawn on me. I look outside and see the normally bustling streets of Cuzco entirely empty. Apparently I have entered the twilight zone.
I head up to my room and take some sleeping pills. "This must all be a dream" I think to myself.
It is not a dream. I wake up and realize my harsh reality. I try my best to ignore it. I check through my usual sites and nothing is updated. I realize that the constant stream of content is gone. Everybody is gone. Everything is gone. I get bored. I blast Taylor Swift on my I-Pod and play hopscotch in the empty streets of Cuzco.
Grief sets in. In my anguish I come to the realization that I'm utterly alone. I am now the sole owner of everything in the world. I break into several stores and binge eat candy. I go for the ice cream only to realize that it has all melted. Civilization has started to unravel. After several days all the back up systems for world power and infrastructure systems start to fail. I realize that soon that all the trappings of civilization will begin to fail. My quality of life is about to take a turn for the worst.
I stockpile supplies. I enjoy some fresh vegetables knowing that soon the remaining produce in the grocery stores will go rotten. I gather up non-perishable food, water, fuel, back-up generators to keep my laptop alive, and very stylish alpaca clothes from the local shops.
I get bored. Very bored. This is no way to live. Life is devoid of purpose. Suddenly I have an idea. I put on my shoes and run frantically out into the streets in search of a car.
Finally I arrive. I park my car full of supplies and walk through the gate. I look out over the ancient city of Macchu Picchu. I smile at the irony that every city in the world is abandoned and I've decided to make my new home here in a city that has been abandoned for hundreds of years. This wonder of the lost ancient empire, now twice abandoned, is desolate and beautiful. With no tourists in sight I take some amazing pictures and upload them to my Instagram. I'm not sure what for. I'm not sure why I keep this log either. This answer will never publish. There aren't editors to approve it nor readers to read it. Yet, writing still makes me feel better
I sit and enjoy the view and ponder my loneliness in the universe. Suddenly, I hear a noise. I look and see a few alpacas. I smile and realize that I am not alone. People may be gone but the alpacas were miraculously spared. I decide that I will live like the Incas did. I rush to my car and grab a bag of potatoes. My life of potato farming and alpaca herding starts now.
I've come to the realization that potato farming and alpaca herding are harder than expected. Winter has started to set in here at South America. I realize that it will take far too long to learn through trial and error. I have no choice but to head back to post-apocalyptic Cuzco. I'm mad. I'm frustrated that I have failed at reestablishing civilization. The alpacas were just starting to warm up to me and now I would have to take a trip away from them.
As I make the drive back I think to myself "what is all of this for anyways?". I am a very social person and this loneliness and boredom has driven me nearly to madness. I would kill just to listen to the radio but all the stations are dead. I think of the lost Incan Empire. Will someone find the lost civilization of Earth someday? What would they think? Would some future tribe of aliens turn my former home into a tourist trap?
While I'm gathering supplies in Cuzco I remember a funny detail about Macchu Picchu from a book I read a few weeks ago. Hiram Bingham III is often credited with the discovery of Macchu Picchu, but most archaeologists today agree that he was far from the first to discover it. Some believed that long before his Yale Expedition brought the ancient city into the limelight that it had been ransacked and stripped of treasure several times. I wonder what Macchu Picchu looked like before then? What would Macchu Picchu look like if it were covered in gold?
I make a detour to the hardware store.
I sign the guestbook at Huayna Picchu. I realized that despite living in Macchu Picchu the last few months I have yet to make the famous and exclusive hike. Only 200 people a day were allowed to make the hike. Today I'm the first hiker to make the trip in 115 days. Has it been that long? The stairs are grueling and I work up quite a sweat. I wish that I had someone to complain to or share the view with.
As I make the hike up the clouds and mist start to dissipate. "This will be perfect" I think to myself.
Finally after several hundred stairs, plenty of switch backs, and too many false summits for my taste I reach the summit of Huayna Picchu. I snap a picture of the sign and climb up on a big rock. I sit crisscross and look out over the horizon at my creation.
I smile to myself. While I may not have been able to maintain or restore civilization I have given it one last gift. I always wanted to be an artist and instillation art has always been my favorite. With all the time in the world and nothing else to do I have created my first and last exhibit.
I look out into the horizon and observe the city of Macchu Picchu glistening gold in the sun. This morning I finished spray-painting the last rock gold. Gold leaf would have been preferred but I had neither the time or the resources. An archaeologist would have killed me for spray-painting the entire city but they aren't around are they? I laugh to myself as watch the sun glimmer on the golden surface of the lost city. I crack open an bottle of Inca Cola I had brought up for the occasion.
I want to be able to say that after the initial shock and sadness, I'd stock up on food and try to learn all of the things I could to sustain myself - farming techniques, learning how to run my own generator, set up solar panels, raising animals, etc. I like to pretend like maybe I'd manage okay if I put my mind to it. I would write down my story in a journal, just in hopes that somehow someone or something would find it and know what happened. I'd want to document society as best I could, point 'Them' to some kind of books for knowledge... I would go on hikes and drive for miles in "stolen" cars (is it stealing? Technically I inherited everything left.) I'd try to learn why I was the one left... I'd struggle with Survivor Syndrome and tackle intense grief... but I would try to have fun and live as long as possible.
But then, I realized I, like many of the other writers, would be far too depressed to function and would quickly lose my will to live. We've seen enough examples to know what isolation does to a person. And while I don't think I could ever bring myself to suicide (I have been very close to people who have struggled very deeply with this, and it has never been something I could comprehend) I can only imagine I would quickly go insane and might just consider that my best option. If I didn't do that, I'd surely starve eventually or die of loneliness and insanity.
Probably just be super depressed. I feel like I could probably survive just fine, at least for a while, because I could walk to a grocery store, and the power would probably still keep things fresh and frozen until it went out.
On a dark note, there wouldn't be much to live for. I'd probably try to figure out what happened to the rest of humanity, but it would be nigh on impossible with such limited travel options. I feel like eventually, if no one came back and I ran out of hope, I'd probably kill myself.
So yeah, fun question.
Spend the rest of my life trying to figure out where everyone disappeared to. Judging by the other writers' answers (which I agree with), it probably wouldn't be a very long life.
-guppy of doom