Over the past couple of weeks in the US, the media has been full of talks of "The Rapture", otherwise known as the "End of the World" as predicted to happen by some crazy preacher in California on Saturday May 21st at 6pm.
Some poor soul even spent his life savings buying up billboards in the City to alert us all NYC dwellers of the terrible tragedy ahead. I remember the day they arrived in Times Square as I was there by chance for an appointment in the middle of a Friday afternoon and was taken aback by a convoy of enormous signs going past me announcing that Judgement Day was upon us. Funnily enough, when I mentioned it to my parents in France, they had heard nothing about it so I guess that the "End of the World" news never reaching our folks across the Atlantic was at least consistent with countless movie scenarios where we are always the last one to know :-)
FM was in town that weekend and our friends and I were certainly not going to let a small thing like that get in the way of all the fun we had planned. Anyway, according to the "prophecy", only the chosen ones would be taken to heaven that day, leaving the rest of the world to deal with the aftermath of a giant earthquake and we were all certain that we have been far too naughty in our lives to "deserve" being sent to heaven first ... if ever!
The fun started on Friday night when we went to Pio Pio in Hell's Kitchen to celebrate FM's birthday. What looks like the entrance of a hotel at first glance is actually a Peruvian restaurant spread over two floors, the lower ground one being a large space very modernly decorated. Little did I know that Peruvian cuisine is famed for its ceviches (which I love) and roast chicken (which was amazing). I was concerned our party of 15 was going to be too raucous but it was not the case - Pio Pio is an ideal restaurant for large gatherings and there were at least another 3 birthday parties going on at the same time as ours.
After going bar crawling until the early hours of the morning, it's a small miracle that some of our group made the trek over to Brooklyn for a celebratory "End of the World" BBQ at LJ's by early afternoon the next day. While gorging on homemade hamburgers, yummy side dishes and plenty of wine, someone had the genius idea that we should fashion ourselves some foil hats to ward off Judgement Day. The amount of creativity displayed by all was breathtaking especially as some unusual materials were used in the process (including an inflated condom and some ornamental fruits!?).
As the weather was clement that day at last, we hung out outside on LJ's street most of the afternoon wearing our hats of course and certainly attracted a lot of attention from the neighbours, much to our (and their) delight and amusement.
At 5.59pm precisely, we took a group picture of us wearing said hats on a bench in the small park right outside LJ's house. At 6pm, we took a picture of just the hats left on the bench, while all loudly cheering and laughing to the point of tears in the background.
I don't normally like making fun of people, especially such a small minority whose beliefs, while clearly quite misguided, bring at least some meaning to their own lives. I can't help but feeling a bit sorry for the thousands or even perhaps millions who were actually preparing themselves for the "End of the World". What are they going to do now?
But while I don't understand them, I must say that for me: I never thought I would enjoy the end of the world quite so much ... Bring on October!
Oh and it turns out that we were not the only one who had the idea of setting up our own Rapture pictures.