My ideal final day would be spent living as if the world had already ended. Perhaps there's no escaping the comets, nuclear explosions and Stay Puft marshmallow men, but there's always that glaring what if. I just want to be prepared. In fact, the best characteristics of a post-apocalyptic society seem to be symptomatic of preparing for a final moment that never came.
I'll begin with a fashionable new look. I'm not talking about some GQ primping, but the kind that I dreamed about having as a 16-year-old but was too self-conscious to pull off. (Coincidentally, this is the same look that will save me from savage road-mercenaries that patrol the wasteland after the world's kaput.)
The Fellowship of Barber Surgeons in Normal Heights (4684 Mansfi eld St.) will cut a mohawk without making me feel like an idiot. The skilled barbers there are always welcoming and never pretentious or think they know your look better than you. They also encourage everyone to hang out before and after their cuts as a throwback to the days when the barbershop fostered a community. The free beer doesn't hurt, either. So I'll sit back, relax and get my buzz on—it'll make it easier to explain to my wife what I did to my hair.
The Barber Surgeons is also a great place to get a straightedge razor shave, which is both delightful and exhilarating. However, Mad Max and Snake Plissken were never clean-shaven.
I'll want to commemorate my new look with a timeless portrait from Jen Jansen an artist we've featured in CityBeat for her unique photographs. Jansen uses an early 20th-century camera, customized with her own film. She develops the photographs onto metal plates, a process called tintype. The labor put into each portrait is intense, but the result is haunting and timeless. A portrait like this will be a perfect reminder of my past life, before the cataclysm, which I'll refer to as "the time before."
If there's a definitive trait of the post-apocalypse, it's that there will be no gasoline. Forget Max's Interceptor—what good is that badass machine going to do without the lifeblood of the road to power it? For this reason, car2go has the perfect vehicles for the end of the world. No doubt you've seen these little blue and white Smart cars zipping around town; maybe you've even laughed at them from your high-and-mighty SUV. But as gas prices climb to $5 a gallon, lines to fill up increasingly resemble Thunderdome ("two men enter, one man leaves"). I'll gladly choose the gasoline-independence afforded by these tiny cars than face an agro, Master Blaster-type fellow filling up on unleaded and Skoal.
Besides being really fun to drive, a car2go will finally give me the opportunity to participate in a car chase. I've always dreamed about racing cars, but level-headedness and the concern for my own personal property have always won out. But a car2go membership also includes insurance coverage, which will come in handy when I zip out to the boonies of East County to reenact and participate in an adorable, mini version of The Road Warrior's car-chase finale. Extra charges may incur on my account for leaving San Diego County, but hell, it's the end of the world—let's get crazy.
Next up is the house burrito from El Zarape in University Heights (4642 Park Blvd.). Now, my wife is a vegetarian, so, by default, I'm a vegetarian. I don't mind—it's certainly heightened my appreciation for subtle flavors, not to mention reduced the number of times I've broken out in a sweat by, you know, walking.
The house burrito, however, is my Achilles heel. It's basically a mountain of chicken wrapped in a tortilla and filled with as much mole sauce as can possibly fit. I honestly turn feral when devouring this thing. Put a little cilantro-lime sauce on there and just end the world right now; I'm done.
After the post-apocalypse, healthy / organic / veg-friendly foods will become as rare as the gasoline, so I'm just keeping my lifeline to meat intact. I mean, who's going to survive longer: my wife or me? (Sorry, hun.)
After making my wife watch as I fill my maw with messy burritos, I'll take her to the most romantic place in San Diego: Lucy Evans Lauren Garden in Point Loma (corner of Lucinda Street and Golden Park Avenue). Grassy trails weave between beautiful flower groups, on par with anything you'll see at the Botanical Building in Balboa Park. Plus, Lucy Evans sits on top of a hill with a breathtaking view of Downtown and the bay. The owners were even kind enough to let us have our wedding there. I can't think of a better place to drop the manic post-apocalyptic shenanigans and just watch the skyline light up.
As night falls, the spirit grows restless and the blood starts to boil. What better way to release all that fear, jubilation and trepidation than Pants Karaoke at Bar Eleven (3519 El Cajon Blvd.)? The drinks will be cheap and strong. The crowd will be hungry to belt their hearts out to the songs that were scratched into their souls during their mortal lives. Even the amateurs will be given a platform and celebrated as if it were the peak of their existence (which it might be).
Me? I'll be singing Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart." Yeah, yeah—it's a played-out song, but I'll be looking ridiculous anyway, in my mohawk and covered in mole sauce. Most likely, I'll be too gone on whiskey-cokes to realize the poignancy of the lyric "Forever's gonna start tonight," but I will look forward to performing the cannon sound-effects—maybe that will drown out the sound of the world exploding.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @theryanbradford