Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Things I Learned From "The Walking Dead"

Just so you know, there won't be any spoilers in this blog post. 

I'm not ready for an apocalypse.

It's a little chilly this morning, so I put on my brand-spanking new winter boots.  They are faux fur lined and have some red stuff and black stuff on them.  No leather.  Plugged my earphones into my phone/camera/musicdevice/internetythingy and walked to the office.  I have a sweet, delicate hand-painted teacup from which to drink my coffee, and I do that before I really dig into the dirt of the day.  My dirty day consists of sending emails, planning curriculum and grading papers.  I run out of coffee and switch to water, walking the 15 steps our chilled, filtered water fountain with a nifty attachment for water bottles.  The tap water is fine, and it tastes good, but hey, I'm not turning down filtered cold water.  I drink two liters of the stuff a day.  Since its a balmy day, I turn the little space heater on under my desk for a little extra comfort.  Life is good.  There's a fridge in my house with fresh food. There is a fridge in the break room of my office and a private bathroom.

Grey and I watch "The Walking Dead", AMCs wildly popular post-apocalyptic gross-out fascinating sci-fi show.  Now in its third season, we have followed the adventures of Rick Grimes and a small band of followers as they try to survive zombies and their fellow man.  Sometimes they act brutally; sometimes humanity still shines through.  The characters are compelling, but the viewer doesn't want to get too attached, since the writers tend to kill off even major players with impunity and without warning. 

I usually tuck my face into Grey's arm during the really gory bits. Nothing to help me sleep at night like visions of undead cannibalism dancing in my head.  Special effects have really advanced in my lifetime. *shiver* Good thing Grey is willing to snuggle.

In the show, the people struggle to balance safety against the daily necessities: avoidance of being eaten by a walker or killed by a stranger trying to take their possessions, finding food and shelter and enough ammunition to remain safe.  Occasionally, a hot shower is bestowed and when someone gets to be clean and not ragamuffin dirty, I sort of cheer inside of my head.  It makes me appreciate running hot water and soap. 

As do most people who read or view post-apocalyptic literature, I sometimes imagine what fresh horrors I would encounter if inserted into the situation.  Societal collapse, including an initial wave of panic and destruction, followed by a long season of strife and perhaps banding with others or creatively avoiding others and death.  Doesn't seem like a lot of fun.  Would I make it? Maybe.  I'm not sure- much of survival seems tied to chance.  What would I do? Hole up in our 100-year-old house with my aging cat and husband? I think we could make the food last a week, though we would be completely in the dark at night.  No candles and our flashlights right now don't even have batteries in them. One lucky break is that the staircase leading to the upstairs of the house is pretty narrow, so barricading it or defending it shouldn't bee too hard.  And the windows open on to the roof in case we need to get away. I have a couple of bandaids, some extra antibiotics and a few weapons- sticks and knives and the like.  And we would stay warm, since I replaced all of my winter coats.  That's a nice bonus.  And Safeway is right next door so I'm pretty sure I could sneak in at times and raid the Starbucks inside. 

Yeah, no, can't do without coffee.  Even if I had to chew the beans. Rampant zombie attacks are ok, but caffeine withdrawl? No can do. You know how zombies want to eat brains and are homicidal?  Caffeine withdrawal.

Needs coffee. And a hot shower.
Plus, I think I'd start smoking.  And I'd wait for my cousin.  Pretty sure he'd come up from Amarillo to Washington. I give that two weeks, maybe three.  He has guns. And frankly, there are fewer natural pests up North than in the South.  Fewer things to kill you.  At least you hear bears coming, unlike water moccasins.  There's a little redneck running through our veins and I think it's just instinctive that much my family would somehow not only live through but would probably be alright.  I wouldn't really head for the hills though. I'd stay close to the places that have houses and pharmacies.  I have some skills with weapons- I am not bereft- and some medical knowledge which is most helpful if you're a farm animal. 

The reality would suck.  Things I take for granted- modern dentistry, hair dryers, lights and refrigeration.  And cake. All of those would go away.  And my life expectancy would shorten to about 41. I'm already feeling old at 39.  The zombie apocalypse should've happened in my early 30s when I was best equipped to deal with it.

But then again, some things would gratefully go away: societal control of women's bodies, wars about religion, the idea of owning land, tanning salons and TMZ

I bet the climate would improve.

I catch myself spacing out, daydreaming of the advantages and disadvantages of the collapse of humanity on Earth.  It will probably happen in a few lifetimes unless we humans can pull our collective heads out of our behinds and learn to care for our environment and each other.  I turn off the heater under my desk and contemplate lunch.  I've forgotten my meal at home and consider any of the venues that are a 5-minute walk from my office door.  In a minute, I will snug into my bright purple jacket and put on that pretty hand-made scarf from Charlotte and skip over to the student union for a smoothie.  They have healthy options and I don't want to overdo it on calories since I'm having a huge Thanksgiving meal this week. 

I text my husband, "Thinking of you!", when what I'm really thinking is that if a zombie-inspired collapse occurred it would be important to me for him to stay alive so we could take shifts sleeping and defending ourselves, and because he would make me think that all of the pain would be worth it.  Someone needs to make it who has a deeper understanding of philosophy and world literature.  And who makes the coffee just how we both like it. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the smile and great reading as we navigate between LA and OK.