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How They Get You

Friday 13th December 2019

I was reading Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments at around the same time there was a gas leak. Wait, let me finish.


I was reading all about how terrifyingly easy it was for a military coup to just confiscate all women’s rights, property, jobs, money etc; round them up, and send them off in vans to stadiums where they would be subjected to brutal conditions and then be shot/forced to shoot each other in order to join the new misogynist regime.


The most chilling line for me in the whole book happens near the beginning when the women at a successful law firm are the only ones to show up for work and know something is wrong: “Is your car here? We need to leave.”

The urgency.



That’s what it would look like.

That’s exactly what it would look like if those things happened, I thought.


So anyway. A drunk driver crashed into the house next door to ours and ripped into their garage, severing a gas pipe. There was a gas leak.


We were woken from our beds at eleven o clock at night by men in hi vis jackets, telling us we had to vacate the area and get behind some cones to where it was safe until the gas men could come and turn off the mains and check if it was safe.


We had to get our small children out of bed, get our dog, abandon our cat, grab some blankets and go and sit on the road by the cones with some of our other neighbours.


It was so easy  to make us leave our house. We just did whatever the men in hi vis jackets told  us to  do.


Yes, I know, in this story that was sensible because they were the good guys. 


But all I could think was, this  is  how they would  do it. This is  how it would happen. The dead of night, that’s no longer your house, you have  five minutes to grab some stuff. Then get out, the government owns that now.


The things you think about when you can’t sleep after a terrible election result.

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