WARNING: The following contains what may be considered spoilers about the plot of the movie 2012. Then again, I’m guessing you’d see most of it coming anyway.
After breakfast, I look out the window of my hypothetical LA home expecting to be greeted with sunshine. Imagine my surprise when I see the Hollywood hills beginning to crumble around me. Random volcanos spring up from the asphalt, the world begins to shake, and tidal waves crash into the surrounding houses.
I push the panic down deep inside myself. If there was ever a time for calm thinking, now is it. I know there’s only one way to get out of this alive.
My fingers flick quickly through the rolodex. It’s time to call in a favor.
Two minutes thirty-seven seconds and twenty-two phone calls later, I have tracked down the phone number of my savior…the only man who can tell me how to survive.
I dial. The man answers, nonplussed. He’s seen this all coming.
“Hello?” he says, voice groggy. In the background I hear a sexy female voice, sultry and with a nondescript exotic accent.
“Mr. Emmerich,” I reply, voice full of urgency. ”I need your help.”
“Tell me,” I beg, “How can I survive the Mayan prophesied apocalypse.”
He thinks for a long moment. Finally he speaks…
“I will help you.” I breathe a sigh of relief. ”But first you must answer a few questions.”
“Of course,” I say.
The question rocks me for a moment.
“I don’t know,” I respond. ”How can I tell?”
“Are you rich? Powerful?”
“No, not at all. I struggle to make ends meet like all God-fearing Americans.”
“That’s good,” he says. ”But it isn’t enough. Have you given up on some dream…failed at some artistic endeavor or chosen a life path that others have said is ‘below you.’”
“Yes!” I say getting excited. ”I’ve always tried to write a novel but can never finish it. Instead I blog and work a day job to make ends meet.”
“Good,” he says. ”There is hope for you. Are you married? Children?”
“No,” I reply. ”Never been married.”
“That’s not good,” he replies, concern creeping into his voice. ”You must have a relationship that is broken. A family that is falling apart. You see, your fight for survival must be about them and not yourself.”
“Dammit!” I scream into the phone.
“Wait,” he says. ”What about an ex-girlfriend? Someone you still burn for but who has moved on.”
“There’s that girl I dated in high-school. We got pretty serious, and we’re still friends.”
“She has a cat,” I say.
“No, a cat’s no good.”
“Okay,” I say, pulling out a pen and paper to take notes. ”What then?”
“Are you white?”
“Of course. Does it matter?”
“Yes, to some extent,” he replies. ”African Americans can often survive as tag-alongs or peripheral heroes, but you have no guarantee of safety without being a brave, white male hero. I mean, sometimes you’ll be asked to sacrifice yourself for the greater good, but circumstances always align to save you from impossible situations.”
“That’s good to know. What about other ethnicities?”
“They’re usually killed en masse while the white people look on and argue about the merits of humankind.”
“All right,” I say. ”So…what do I do?”
“You and your girlfriend…”
“Ex-girlfriend,” I correct him.
“How can I do that, Roland?” I ask, indignant. ”The entire world is breaking up around me!”
“You must outrun it.”
The line goes dead for a full thirty seconds.
“What if it’s an earthquake? Or a volcano exploding? Or cold?”
“You must run away. Or drive away. Or fly away. Very fast.”
“What if the ground breaks up in front of me?”
“Drive faster. Jump any cracks or crevasses you encounter.”
“All right” I say nodding. ”You’re the expert Mr. Emmerich. So I’ve stolen a plane…what now?”
“If anything goes wrong with the plane, pull up. And make sure to breathe a sigh of relief after narrowly missing the mountaintop or landmark. Then make an out-of-place joke about almost dying.”
“Got it. What else?”
“Go to China.”
“The governments of the world must have seen this coming. They see everything coming. And they’ve been devising an elaborate plan to save a select few. That last chance for humanity’s survival is in China.”
“Because it’s really far away and vaguely politically relevant.”
“Got it.” I scribble on my pad. ”Once I get to China, how will I find whatever it is I’m looking for?”
“It will find you.”
“You’re sure about this?”
“Trust me. Through some illogical twist of fate or unbelievable coincidence spanning continents and all walks of life, you will find yourself in the right place at the right time. Just go along for the ride as the characters…err…people around you lead you.”
“What?!? That’s the opposite of what I’m trying to do.”
“I know, I know. But like I said, the moment will invariably come when someone asks you to take on a suicide mission to save humanity. It might be going into a submerged passageway to free up a motor or flying an alien spacecraft into a mother ship to upload a computer virus with your mac. Whatever it is, it’s extremely important that you not hesitate in saying yes. The slightest moment of selfishness and you’re screwed. Insist that YOU have to be the one to do this.”
“Okay, so I take on the suicide mission. I finish it, go back to my ex-girlfriend…”
“Girlfriend” he corrects me.
“Same thing. Go back to her, and I’m done, right?”
“Almost,” he replies. ”Before you can surface or appear in the distance, you have to wait. A really long time. Like, almost so long that everyone believes that you’re dead.”
“Then I just…”
“Surface from your supposed watery tomb and let the hugs start. Live happily ever after.”
I finish writing and rip the paper from the pad. I’m already grabbing my keys and walking out the door.
“Great, thanks so much Roland. I appreciate your help.”
“No problem,” he says cheerfully. ”Just thank God you aren’t in an Alex Proyas film.”