I often find myself wishing that a zombie apocalypse will happen for reals…kinda.
I am really drawn to disaster/apocalyptic/survival stories. I like to guess what I would do in each situation, how I might act, how I might feel.
As I try to unpack what my fascination is about, I think I am intensely curious about how going through a crisis affects people (me), and how people (me) tend to fight, flight, or freeze, and how people (me) either grow or are torn apart or something in between.
A catastrophic disaster would strip away all the complexities of the modern world. We wouldn’t have to deal with interest rates or insurance or deadlines or waiting in line or midterms or the Kardashians. It would simplify life down to the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: food, shelter, clothing, safety.
In a way, wouldn’t it be nice if all you had to worry about today was getting enough food in your belly and making sure you weren’t bitten by a zombie? It would be stressful, yes, but a different kind of stress. It would be stress centered around what is really important, like being with the people you truly love (because who would want to waste precious post-apocalyptic time with someone who makes you want to eat your own face off?) and surviving together (like, really surviving).
I fantasize about how a scenario like that would make my current relationships that much closer. It would just be me, Brian, and Dylan. And maybe the cat, if she’s fast enough and less whiny. B and I would be together, working intensely to protect our son, and that’s all that would matter. We wouldn’t be separated by full time jobs without paid family leave. We wouldn’t have to worry about saving for Dylan’s college education. We wouldn’t spend a Saturday arguing over how to furnish the house. It would just be us in the present moment fighting to stay alive for each other.
That’s the other thing – the present moment. There wouldn’t be smart phones and Facebook and millions of TV channels to distract us from what is really important. We wouldn’t be able to communicate with anyone who isn’t directly in front of us. (Of course, modern conveniences are wonderful and I like them as much as the next person, but for right now I’m focused on the upsides of not having them around.) This would further intensify and hopefully deepen my relationships with those around me.
Having to rely on my partner and anyone lucky enough to find themselves in our zombie-killing troop would build trust – the kind that is fierce and all-encompassing where you know that person would lay down his life for you. Having that kind of security feels so…comforting. So safe and warm and gooey. Plus, surviving day-to-day like that would quickly root out people you can’t trust or don’t like, and therefore shouldn’t be around (characters in The Walking Dead – take notice!!). Plain and simple.
Would there be things that just plain suck about this scenario? Of course. I’d miss sunscreen and chapstick and modern medicine and higher education and hot showers and I’m sure the rampant shambling zoms would piss me off right quick. But that’s beside my point for right now.
What I am realizing, as I fear I have already begun to ramble, is that I crave closeness in human relationships, and besides needing the basics, an apocalypse would wipe out everything else and bring those relationships front and center.
When I put it that way, doesn’t it sound nice?
…maybe just a little bit?