Afternoon Inquisition

AI: How would you spend your final days?

One of many beautiful Zanzibar beaches. Image taken from the interwebs here.

Chelsea cannot do AI today, so I’m filling in.

My recent post on the crazy cult predicting the end of the world on May 21st, 2011 started me thinking of how I would spend my final days if I knew the world was about to end in apocalypse. I think I would like to spend some time relaxing on the beach at some beautiful place– maybe Zanzibar– and spend some time exploring my favorite place on Earth– the beautiful ancient city of Petra. What I would not do is drive around in an RV as that sounds like an awful way to spend my final days. Since I’m an atheist heathen, all that RVing wouldn’t help me be saved in the judgment anyway. So, may as well enjoy those final days.

If the world were really ending on May 21st, 2011 (or December 21st, 2012 or your favorite end date) how would you spend your final days? Would you drive around in an RV… or not?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 3pm ET.


Evelyn is a geologist, writer, traveler, and skeptic residing in Cape Town, South Africa with frequent trips back to the US for work. She has two adorable cats; enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and kayaking; and has a very large rock collection. You can follow her on twitter @GeoEvelyn. She also writes a geology blog called Georneys.

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  1. shameless plug: I have recently broken down and joined the twitter. Follow me @GeoEvelyn so that I’m not lonely when the apocalypse comes. /shameless plug

    The more I think about it, the nicer Zanzibar beaches sound.

  2. If I am the only one who knows? I’d go to Hawaii with my wife. We get beautiful beaches, rain forests, and weather. Then, as my final act, I have the option of jumping into a volcano.

    If everyone knows? I’d get as far away from civilization as possible because some pure craziness is going to happen.

  3. I’d spend those days with the people I love and care for. Then near the end, I would try to get away from civilization, just like Davew. I don’t want to deal with looters in the end.

  4. I got held up at gun point on a beach in Zanzibar once; the only time I’ve so far had that happen to me — it wasn’t all that relaxing. So I think I might head elsewhere. I like the idea of a mountain hideout — but I agree with the idea of someplace natural and peaceful and beautiful as a place to savor in those final days.

  5. @Callan Bentley: Doesn’t sound relaxing!

    The reason I’m thinking of Zanzibar is that friends of ours recently honeymooned there, and it looked very beautiful in their pictures.

    Any gorgeous beach will do, though, really.

  6. Wait, how many days notice do we have?
    And does the rest of the world know too? If so, I’d be joining the looters, though I don’t know if you could call it looting when people would be gladly giving stuff away that they knew they couldn’t use. There’d be street barbecues, and no one would do any work – it would be chaotic and crazy, but fun.
    If no one else knew, though, and if I had more than a few days’ notice, I’d take my family to a beautiful, deserted beach with a moderate and dry climate, where there were no germs or allergens, and no people except just one good-natured and devoutly religious Christian family* who also knew about the end of the world and who would have no one to do good deeds for except us. They’d shower us with perfect margaritas and delicious roast fish, they’d clean our beach hut for us, and entertain the kids if my husband and I wanted to go snorkling, etc.

    *Obvs. they couldn’t be Lutherans, but would have to believe their good deeds could buy their way into heaven. And yes, I know real Xians would probably ruin everything by objecting to our hedonism and trying to save our souls while there was still time. I’d have to select just the right Xian family – too modest to venture to criticize others, or perhaps just too selfish to think about anyone’s souls but their own.

  7. Realistically, I’d probably spend most of my time crying; my nephew’s only two, and he’s already overcome so much just to survive.

    Ideally, if I weren’t crying, I think I’d want to go to New Zealand or Australia. I’ve never been, and I really want to see those glow worms. I’ve wanted to since I was nine.

    So, that’s what I’d do. Cry or see my nephew.

  8. Shooting from the hip (because otherwise I’ll way overthink this): Kauai, north shore, Hanalei beach (where we got hitched a few years ago), sipping mai tais & scarfing down poke like there’s no tomorrow. Since this is my fantasy, there’ll be enough advance warning to convince our loved ones to join us on the island (just as they did for the wedding), so we can all face oblivion together.

    Actually (overthinking begins here): if the premise is that we know now that the world will end in May, I’ll extend that to quitting my job, cashing in all of my retirement funds (before the markets crash), & then spending the next few months island hopping in the Pacific, before ending up on Kauai for the Big Event.

    In either case, no RVs.

  9. If I was the only one who knew, I’d pack up my family and take them to New Zealand without telling anyone where we were. Somewhere with unlimited food storage so that I could make genius meals for my family in those last days, oh, and bake all of the delicious sweets they can handle.

    If it was just a “my last days” scenario, which I expect to play out at the end, I would hopefully be in my home, with my mind intact and some close friends/family around me.

  10. If I had my choice, it’d be a zombie apocalypse and I would spend it surviving with my closest friends. But in that case, there is a chance that we could survive (and I’d like to imagine that I am smart enough to outsmart the clambering undead) so this doesn’t really count.

    I refuse to answer the question in terms of the religious concept of the apocalypse because that’s just silly. There are plenty of cool ways the world could end that don’t need God around to kick it all off and Jesus is not invited to my hypothetical situation.

    In the event of scientific, non-zombie apocalypse, I would hop on over to my buddy Melissa’s house, break out some rum and coke, kick back and do some star gazing while we wait for our inevitable vaporization (or whatever).

    Hopefully, somewhere along the way, there’ll be some lonely, skeptical guy who doesn’t have anybody close enough to enjoy the apocalypse with. It’d be such a bore to die in the apocalypse while single, y’know?

  11. Fantasy would be to hang out with my loved ones: my husband and kids, dear old Dad, some of my sibs, my one and only bestest ever friend.
    Then I would have fabulous, decadent food every day and drink good scotch and good wine.
    And I would savor and appreciate every minute of it.
    Then the world would not end and I would be fat, but hopefully I would have learned about what is really important.

  12. P.S. An addendum: we smuggle our cat & dog to Hawaii with us. Quarantine schmarantine, the world’s ending anyway.

    Plan B: we row out to the middle of a lake with a bottle of tequila, my sax and some Bach, and watch the fireworks.*

    * Not really, I don’t have a sax; a guitar might work though.

  13. Hmm, I live in an RV full time, so this doesn’t bode well for us… We would probably stock up, and drive off to somewhere isolated and fun (a ferry to Skpepchick island, maybe?)

  14. I’d keep a towel handy and stick my thumb way up. O, and pack my pockets with ear plugs, just in case.

    Seriously, though… I think I like the meteor impact scenario for this end of the world, and since I am fortunate enough to be physically close to the people (and animals) that matter to me, I’d just lock up, look through my hundreds of books and sort out the ones I would want to read before I die, and then proceed to read, play board games with my loves ones, and eat through the goodies in the freezer until the end comes. If it is practical, I might spend some time connecting with online friends one last time. Possibly watching my favorite movies in the middle of the night, when everyone else is asleep.

  15. Assuming travel wouldn’t be an option (world chaos and all that stuff)…, it’s up to the mountains to see the view with my family, I’d bring lots of good food and good wine, the best Scotch available, some bud and what ever other chemical anyone wants. It would be a wake/party with eating, drinking, hugging, crying, and talking up to the end.

  16. First off, I agree with you about Petra, amazing !!
    In my final days I would head to the outback, the centre of Australia, with my dog Grizwald… and I’d drive the old track to Lake Eyre. If I never made it, it wouldn’t matter. You can see forever out there, and the stars cast a light to help you see. I’d lie down, put my arm around Grizwald, gaze up at the milky way and then we’d finally go back to being star stuff.

  17. OK, you go to the zoo and you get a lion. Stick a remote control bomb up its butt… push the button on the bomb, and you and the lion die like one.

  18. Honestly, if I had a time stamp for when everything would end, I’d probably the spend the whole time sobbing uncontrollably while hugging my mom, my cat, my brothers, and everyone else that I love.

  19. Seriose answer: At Guantanamo Bay with the wife. When she was stationed there, I visited her a few times and those were some of the best vacations we’ve ever had. Nothing pressing, just relaxing, snorkling and generally hanging out. I really, really miss those days.

  20. @Mark Hall: Definitely. Since I’ve been terminally single most of my life, I’d definitely try to find some lady I like and likes me and spend as much time as we could together.

  21. I feel a little bad that the first things that come to my mind aren’t as poetic as most of the other ideas here. But really, I think I’d want to try wacky drugs somewhere in that last week or two. Mushrooms, LSD, some kind of hallucinogen, because I wouldn’t be worried about long-term negative effects or legal punishments. And I’d have sex and listen to awesome music while on drugs. And eat awesome crappy food, like Polly-O string cheese, chocolate cake, Chef Boyardee raviolis, and egg salad.

  22. October 21. They are predicting the world will end on October 21. Here it is third paragraph on their site. It’s written in that stupid article that started all this in the same paragraph where May 21 is first mentioned. Do you all just not care about whether or not what you are saying is true? Is looking at the picture at the top and making up the rest of the story enough? Come on.

  23. @Tortorific: Well, if they’re making up stuff I don’t see why I can’t make up stuff, too.

    I declare that the end of the world is coming tomorrow. So clearly I can stay home all day today and watch TV rather than go to lab and do work.

  24. Strange.

    I’ve planned to be in the woods during that time on a well deserved break from civilization.

    But if it were to turn out to be the end of the world I’d haul ass to get home to the wife and kids. I may take a trip away now and then but I would gladly sacrifice my last few moments of calm to spend the last moments thanking my family for making my life amazing.

    Thanfully it’s bullshit and I’ll enjoy my vacation jn relaxation.

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