Whenever talk of a zombie apocalypse comes up in polite dinner conversation, most entirely sane people give you their opinion on what they would do, because of course, they have thought about it. My friends and I have a zombie apocalypse plan in place and we frequently debate the merits of one weapon or location over another. Everyone likes to think they’d survive the zombie apocalypse, but the plain fact is, most of us won’t.
I’m one of those people who thinks I have a fair shot at surviving. I’ve even written about it before in Vote For Me In The Zombie Apocalypse. As I type this, I have a handgun and a rifle within easy reach and over a thousand rounds of ammunition in each caliber. I’m a pretty good shot. I think I have almost two thousand rounds of 9mm, but I haven’t done an inventory in a while.
I have excess bottled water and plenty of canned food. I can fix things and grow things. The sexual abuse I suffered as a child has given me hypersensitivity to my surroundings; it’s very difficult to sneak up on me. Plus, guns. Did I mention guns? None of my neighbors have guns as far as I know, so I win.
That said, as I was making coffee this morning, as I do every morning, I realized that coffee will be one of my downfalls in a post-apocalyptic world.
I’m addicted to the stuff, mentally and physically. If I don’t have a cup of coffee first thing in the morning, I’m a mess. I can’t think without coffee. In a zombie apocalyptic world, it’s not accessibility that’s the problem; it’s coffee itself. It’s a diuretic, which means that it makes you pee. With fresh water in short supply, drinking something that makes you pee is really quite ridiculous. Taking perfectly good water and turning it into something that makes you pee out more water is the height of insanity. Coffee is a first-world luxury.
I’ll have to give up coffee. It would be hard, but I could do it. The problem lies in giving it up. I would go through withdrawal. I would be absolutely useless with a headache for at least two days, and functionally impaired for probably two weeks after that. With more zombies than people, you try to survive two weeks with the mental acumen and reaction times of a doped up five-year old.
I’m an insomniac. I take pills to sleep. These pills require at least eight hours to work. They leave me groggy in the morning. Even with the pills, the slightest noise wakes me. In a zombie world, being groggy isn’t a good thing. I’d have to give up the sleeping pills, which is fine, but that would leave me unable to really properly sleep.
Sleep deprivation does awful things to a person. Just look at this wiki article which lists some of the effects as confusion, memory lapses or loss, hallucinations and cognitive impairment. Eventually, your brain just won’t stand for all this sleeplessness and will force you to shut down, no matter what you are doing. You could be in a the middle of a battle with zombies and your brain will say, enough is enough and put you to sleep.
As much as I bitch about them, I very much love my buddies. There’s absolutely no way that I could hurt them or abandon them, which means in zombieworld, I still have to provide for them. The dog could probably fend for herself a bit and would be a fairly good watchdog, but the cat is totally useless. He got out of my house once and was gone for four days. He didn’t eat, and when I found him, he was a total wreck. That was only four days. Without my intervention, he would die.
With food in scarce supply, the animals that we domesticated would have a hard time surviving without us. Eventually, over a few generations, they would revert back to their wild ways, but the animals who have grown up in warm houses with food provided for them, like mine, would have a difficult time. We turned them into that. We made them dependent on us. In post-apocalyptica, I would still honor that obligation. They would still require food and water, which I wouldn’t have a lot of. They would be a drain on my supplies.
Squeamish about food
I am totally American in the sense that I probably throw out a lot of food that is still good. If the expiration date is up, I get rid of it. If I bring home food from a restaurant, if I don’t eat it within roughly forty-eight hours, I won’t eat it at all. It will go to waste.
In zombieworld, that’s not an option. Everything, eventually, will get old and stale with no one making new things to eat and shipping them out to the stores. If I survive, I’ll find myself eating insects and shrubbery. I would get over my squeamishness, but I still probably wouldn’t eat enough to actually survive. If I didn’t die of something else first, I’d slowly die of starvation.
I can’t fix important things
I am very handy. I have two tool boxes; one upstairs and one downstairs. I have a power drill and even an old manual hand drill, a saw, two hammers and all manner of screwdrivers and wrenches. My dad is a skilled craftsman who had no sons. He taught my sister and I everything he knows, which is a lot.
That said, I know absolutely bupkis about fixing cars, generators, flashlights, water treatment equipment or any of the other things one would need in zombieworld. I can build a fine brick wall and even a house, if I had to, but what good does that do?
Not a people person
Those who survived the initial onslaught would set up a new barter economy. It’s what people have done throughout recorded history. In the new economy, negotiation skills would be very valuable. My best friend, for instance, would be the barter queen, since that’s what she does now when there’s real money out there. She does a lot of her freelance work for trade and has earned some really cool things that way.
I, on the other hand, am terrible at bartering. I’m not a people person. I don’t really like them, so I never bothered to learn how they tick. I can’t read them. I don’t know their tells. I can’t negotiate for shit. I’d rather just hand you my bank card than negotiate for trade. I would somehow manage to trade a working generator and three gallons of gas for five seeds, out of which, one would grow, then die.
I take magic pills every day. They keep me sane and from crying nonstop in a fit of anxiety/malaise/pique–take your pick. I have a small stockpile of these magic pills, but not enough to last forever. You’d probably be able to find or barter for them, but gradually, the supplies would run out and there would be no one to make more.
Have you ever just stopped taking antidepressants? I have, and let me tell you, the effects are not pretty. The come down is a hundred times worse than had you never taken them at all. If I survived the insomnia, withdrawal, starvation and hungry zombie mouths, I would probably die from depression.
I’ve had crappy vision since the fifth grade. I just went to the eye doctor yesterday and my crappy vision didn’t get any worse! I don’t need new glasses. I can continue wearing the ones my dog chewed when she was a puppy. Yay me.
I hate wearing glasses all the time. Not because they make me uncool or whatever–I’m actually rather fond of my glasses, bite marks and all–but because I’m sensitive to light like a vampire and I can’t afford prescription sunglasses or those fancy lenses that go from light to dark automatically. Also, I have a tiny Finnish nose that wasn’t designed to support Coke bottle glasses all day. If I wear my glasses for more than a few hours at a time, the bridge of my nose gets sore as hell, so during the day, I mostly wear contacts.
In zombieworld, contacts are just incredibly impractical. Excuse me, Mr. Zombie, I know you’re trying to eat me and all, but I need to wash my contact lenses, so could you hold off a second? That leaves me with glasses, which I can guarantee will somehow get knocked off my face at some point. I wouldn’t be able to find my glasses without my glasses and then I’d be blind. The only thing scarier than a bunch of zombies trying to eat you is not being able to see a bunch of zombies trying to eat you.
I had pneumococcal meningitis as an infant. I barely survived. It left me partially deaf in my right ear, extremely sensitive to light and prone to extreme migraines. The worst damage it did though was to my immune system. It was taxed so much early on in my life that it’s pretty much given up trying to fight off anything else. If anyone within five miles of me has pink eye, I have pink eye. If anyone shows up to work sick, I get sick, as I am now, which is why it pisses me off so terribly much when people come in to work sick.
My poor immune system really does try its best, and since it managed to kick meningitis’ ass, I cut it some slack, but it is not what it should be. If anyone around me is sick, I’m sick.
When I get sick, I don’t get half-heartedly sick; I am down for the count. It doesn’t typically last long, but even the common cold can knock me on my ass for a day or two. Being immobilized due to sickness a lot seems like the type of thing that wouldn’t be at all helpful in zombieworld. I’d contract scarlet fever or the Pig AIDS and be a goner.
Well, this was supposed to be a light-hearted, hypothetical article, but it turned out to be rather depressing. Sorry about that. Anyway, fingers crossed that there isn’t a zombie apocalypse any time soon. If there is, you’re welcome to come to my house and steal my guns, ammo and dog. Cheers to the first-world!