Are You, Are You Coming to the Tree

I know I’m about four years behind the cool kids and totally one of those lame bandwaggoners everyone’s always complaining about, but I have an announcement. I finally read Mockingjay, the last book in the Hunger Games trilogy. It made me cry my eyes out.

I didn’t cry about *SPOILER ALERT* that first really sad thing that happened near the beginning. Or *SPOILERS AGAIN* that other super, super sad thing in the middle. I didn’t even cry at the end when *SO MANY SPOILERS ARE HAPPENING RIGHT NOW* that thing-that-is-so-impossibly-sad-it-made-everyone’s-soul-break-in-half happened. (This is how spoilers work, right?)

No, my lower lip only started trembling every time the government committed some terrible travesty. So… I cried through the whole book. By the end of the thing, I was curled up on the floor with my knees pulled tight to my chest blubbering things like, “F-f-f-freeedommm! Certain un-un-unaaaaaalienable riiiiiiiights! Katnisssss and Buttercuh-uh-uh-uppppp!”

This was all coming at a weird time for me, because I can’t remember ever having been so frustrated with the actual, non-fictional government in my life. It’s a very long story, but the result is that it will be months before I can look at a candidate yard sign without throwing up a little. I’m frustrated, I’ve completely stopped trusting in the government, and I don’t know what to do about it. Mockingjay hit me right where it hurt the most.

After 20 minutes of lying in a puddle of my own tears, and drool, and shattered faith in all political systems, the pain had hardened into a little, cold stone of rage in my heart. I stopped crying abruptly, stood up and tied a bandana around my forehead, Rambo-style. Then I went out to the shed to find a shovel so I could start digging a bunker in the desert outside of town, because I’m not Stephanie the Soft, Pale Blogger anymore. Oh no. I’m Stephanie the Survivalist. The government is coming for us all, and I say:

Bring. It. On.

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… live in bunkers. They go without plumbing or electricity, surrounded by 10,000 cans of Manwiches and animals they hunted.

… fall off the grid. They don’t use social media. They don’t have paper trails. They don’t have any attachments.

… own a lot of guns. Like, a lot of guns. Like, if there was a Swiss Army Knife but the knife part was a gun and all the other tools were also guns, that would only be one of the guns in a survivalist’s arsenal.

… have medical training. Forget the first aid kit! Survivalists are prepared for any disaster, from nuclear fallout to full-blown war.

… are conspiracy theorists. Only survivalists know they aren’t conspiracies. The government is definitely controlling the weather. Also the government is an imaginary front for the leaders of the robot uprising.

… are very fit. A high level of physical fitness is important because they know they’ll probably have to punch government agents, withstand torture and survive the onrushing apocalypse.

… trust no one. Not their friends. Not their families. Not even their cats. Especially not their cats.

… are so, so crazy. Crazy like a fox. A fox who has sustained head injuries and severe psychological trauma.

I’m charmingly mentally unstable myself. Why, just this morning I had a full-on panic attack because last night I dreamed Freddie Mercury came back from the dead to diagnose me with AIDS and criticize my upper lip.



I also have a hard time trusting anyone. Jordan, for example, welcomes strangers into his life with open arms. Even if they let him down, he works to maintain the relationship. On the other hand, if it was socially acceptable to growl at people upon meeting them, I would do it because I know the world is filled with lying liars just waiting to lie about something. I burn bridges so quickly that I often can’t even remember why I did it — I just know that there can never be a bridge there again, for the ground is cursed.

I’m almost a third of the way to being a full-fledged survivalist already. It’s a natural fit! Unfortunately, there have been a few obstacles.


… can’t live in a bunker. I just finished repainting my kitchen, for goodness’ sake. Plus, I like plumbing and not having to kill my food. Can I be a survivalist who lives above-ground, in a normal house, with electricity and cookies?

… loves the grid. How would I know about potential government threats without Twitter? As far as paper trails go, I can start paying for everything in gold but I’m very attached to my library card. I’d need it for all my anti-government reading! The Handmaid’s Tale! 1984! The Giver!

… is nervous around guns. I do have a mean-looking baseball bat, though. And my keychain has a key on it specifically for stabbing people.

… gets a little woozy around blood. It’s not the blood that gets me so much as the red, wet, warmth — it’s the blood, ok? I don’t like blood.

… is a little skeptical of conspiracies. Obviously I know the government is not controlling the weather. It’s too busy experimenting on us with the mind-control drugs from chemtrails.

… loves rules. I often wonder if I’m the kind of person who would look at a law and go, “Say, this isn’t right. This is infringing on my rights as a human!” or if I’m the kind of person who would go, “Oh, wow! Yet another guideline for appropriate and civil behavior that I will follow to keep the peace like the nonconfrontational chicken I am!” I hope I’m the first kind, but I worry I’m the second.

… keeps skipping the gym. Actually, the survivalists I’ve met have not been particularly fit either. In fact, in my experience they’ve mostly been sexist old men with a gratuitous number of weapons and no friends.

Man, I don’t want to be that way. I don’t want to be a survivalist.

I just want to be a crazy lady who lives in a hole in the desert with a smoochy cat.

Mission accomplished.

Mission accomplished.


  1. theliteraryhorse

    “The Road”, Cormac McCarthy. It will help with the whole getting-into-survivalism thing. I found myself stockpiling cookie ingredients. (Throw good cookies into any social situation, and you have instant allies.)

  2. Angela Leese

    hope I’m the first kind, but I worry I’m the second.”

    Yeah. I know, for sure, that I’m the second type. I get angry when I hear that rules restrict rights, sure, but it takes me a second to first get over the happiness that there’s another rule to govern behavior so I don’t have to think as much about what’s the best thing to do next.

  3. Pingback: Let Me Get What I Want This Time | Listful Thinking

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