I’m almost finished with Under the Dome (Kindle version here). In it, a town called Chester’s Mill in Maine gets trapped under, well, a dome that’s exactly the shape of the town. No one can get in and no one can get out. This town is left to its own devices as it tries to keep order and figure out how to survive cut off from the rest of the world. Because it’s Stephen King, there’s also a lot of murder and some sci-fi thrown in, and I am having a blast reading it.
But it also terrifies me. And I don’t mean just getting a little jumpy. I mean the concept of being cut off from everything else really truly scares me.
I live in New York. Manhattan is a tiny island for holding so many people. Brooklyn is a large borough, and sure we could get to Long Island, but we are pretty much surrounded by water, too. If we were trapped, there’s too many people and too few bridges to get everyone out quickly. I think about this a lot more than I should.
During Hurricane Sandy, and during some particularly bad snow storms, the city stopped public transportation. The trains stop running, the buses don’t go, and I don’t have a car. During these times I have been trapped–a little bit. Not by a dome, but by inclement weather and lack of transportation. I can walk to everything I need, but my friends are in different neighborhoods or different boroughs. #fatcat and I stock up on food and hole up for a few days, and we do alright. But what if you had no warning? What if you were trapped alone? What if you were trapped with an abusive police force and a power-hungry town leader?
Boston was recently under a lockdown, under trying circumstances. The people of Boston were trapped in their homes while the police outside tried to catch a terrorist. That happened just a few weeks ago, in real life, in a city in America not far from here. Their city and police impressed the world, and that story had an ending Boston can be proud of.
I don’t think the people in Chester’s Mill will be able to say the same.
(I’m 91% through it. Here we go…)