Fallout 4’s Wasteland Has Prepared Me For The Nightmare Of Britain

How am I going to keep the lights on this winter? I stare blankly at the few bits of copper in my pocket; sacrifices will have to be made. There’s simply not enough to cover everything right now. Priorities need to be drawn up. But as I try and work out which needs come first, the local Mayor, a conservative fellow it has to be said, starts yammering on about some faceless enemy, lurking out there, ready to steal our children away.

For a moment I slip into nostalgia, remembering things as they were – at least in my head – before multiple bangs and blows changed so much about the world. It is a very different place now; the economy is not what it was, widespread illness has impacted so many, and pockets of humanity are left simply trying to hold the bleakness at bay. I return to my senses, only to find the Mayor has now switched course and is desperately trying to assure me kicking out the ‘undesirable elements’ was a good thing actually.

I depart, both tired of this self-serving politician, but also keen to visit the local supermarket before night falls. I have already resigned myself to the notion that this will be a grim trip; dodging grey faces lurking down the aisles, drained of their humanity by the circumstances that befell them through no fault of their own, only to find the shelves offer little except canned goods which will have a questionable effects on my health.

Realising I would have been better off stocking up in town, I schlep back to the self-styled local ‘jewel’ to find two brothers at loggerheads in the market square. Once again the faceless enemy rears its head, they argue, the relationship is irreparably damaged, “he wasn’t really my brother anymore” one wails. The press do little to help, warning people of this looming evil, when for many the real need is simply to have a safe and secure path to navigate each day. I sigh; on my travels I have met groups who claim to be able to help, but only seem to want to do so on their own terms; others are treated with suspicion because they want to be more inclusive, more holistic when it comes to the future. This is to say nothing of those who seek to take advantage of good folk, to simply take what they want with no care or thought for those at the sharp end of the stick they wield.

With the light fading, I set out for home. Sure, it’s a bit rickety, the door needs replacing, and the garden has seen better days, but it’s still where I lay my head at night. Could I find somewhere better? Maybe. I daydream of building a nice, safe, clean home on some unspoiled corner of the map; but once again I am interrupted – this time by those who seem bigger, stronger, and better equipped for the world as it is now. One of them surges towards me, a light blinking under his arm like a notification aimed directly at me: if you worked harder things could be better, know your place, submit to our will. There is some satisfaction in destroying these notions so spectacularly, but I am wounded by the encounter. Exhausted by it.

Things would be better if I could repair my barriers, to keep the bad things at bay, to deflect the darts daily life throws at me. But again I am forced to decide between spending time and resources on what amounts to self care, or putting them into other areas. Is fixing myself more important than ticking off the tasks handed to me by others each day?

Little time remains to answer such existential questions; I have to sort the day's junk, recycle what can be recycled, repair what can be repaired, before worrying about what tomorrow holds, who will bring me more work, more ‘opportunities’, more drains on resources. I check the once state of the art tech on my wrist, right now I am only interested in the time, and it is late. I wander to my bed and opt to sleep; eight hours would be great, thanks.

I close my eyes. I click Start, I hit Save, I shut down. Thank god the real world isn’t like Fallout 4.

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