Only one week left! Until forever.
No one believes the Mayan apocalypse. Well, almost no one. Your crazy uncle on Facebook probably does. Maybe that coworker who still can't stop talking about The Da Vinci Code. But no one credible has any stock in the magic date of 12/21/12.
And yet, tensions seem to be running unusually high as we head toward the end of the year. Maybe it's just me, but it seems like traffic is more ornery, people are crabbier in general, and of course there is this incredibly distressing rash of mass public shootings.
You know that old saw, "Live like there's no tomorrow"? Well, that's supposed to be an inspirational saying, but the truth is that if they really knew there was no tomorrow, a lot of people would do really bad things. They might commit murder/suicide, run through a crowded shopping mall firing an assault rifle, or take a dump on their boss's desk.
I worry that the next week is going to be rough. Because the truth is that a lot of people think the world is going to end next Friday. And who can say what stupid, reckless acts they will commit between now and then?
A lot more people only kinda half believe the "prophecy." These people are going to be particularly stressed out. You dump a semi-belief in the end of the world on top of a very real set of annual holiday stressors (Shopping! Family! Money!) and you have a recipe for disaster.
People seemed to get spooked by the 12/12/12 date. I suspect it's partly because it so closely echoes the 12/21/12 date. A precursor, a sense of dramatic foreshadowing.
None of the believers knows what form the apocalypse will take, of course. That makes it worse, adding to the anxiety. How can you prepare for something you know nothing about? Some people believe the Earth will be pelted with asteroids. Others, that a massive solar storm (another Carrington Event) will knock out all electronics. And many religious people believe that it will be the Second Coming, with the lava and the pitchforks and the unbelievers Left Behind.
In the meantime, people are coping with their anxiety by buying things. It is the most American of coping strategies. Purchases of bulk survival food, guns, and gold are all up. (Never mind that in a real emergency, no one gives a rip about gold. People want water, food, and gas - in that order.)
My personal prediction? I predict a lot of sheepish people on Saturday the 22nd. And over the month that follows, I predict that gold prices will fall dramatically, as the hoarders come to their senses and start selling off some of their assets to try and make January's rent.