Saturday, June 30, 2012

We're All Going To Die During a Zombie Apocalypse... and We Deserve To by Scott M. Baker

That is not a proven fact verifiable by solid evidence.  This is merely my own opinion based on firsthand observations.  Let me explain why I developed that hypothesis.  But first, some background information.

Last night around 11:00 a freak thunderstorm blew through the Washington D.C. area.  One minute I was watching television, the next the trees around my house were blowing violently, the loose items on my back deck were being thrown about, and I could hear the wind slamming into the aluminum siding.  The lights flickered, went out, and came back on several times.  The rain was heavy but brief, and within twenty minutes the storm had passed on and everything had returned to normal.

This morning, after breakfast, I went out to do some errands.  I was surprised to find that half my city was without power, including about seventy-five percent of the traffic lights.  But I was dumbstruck at how people were reacting.

Now mind you, this was just a freak thunderstorm.  There were no tornadoes, or sustained hurricane-level winds, or massive flooding.  And except for one poor woman in Maryland who died in her bed when a tree toppled over onto her house, there were no fatalities.  But the way people acted out there, you would have thought it was the end of the world.

Intersections with non-working traffic signals were insane.  It seemed as if everyone forgot that broken traffic signals are to be treated as four-way Stop signs.  I don't know who was worse -- the drivers who blew through these intersections without even slowing down, or the timid ones who just sat there, too afraid to move.  I came upon one intersection on a back road where five cars blocked five lanes because the traffic signal was out and no one knew how to handle it.  On the main road, all common sense seemed to have left people along with the electricity.  I saw one driver cruising along in the far-left breakdown lane, and another one stopped in the middle of four lanes reading a map.

The police were out in force, but they seemed to be uncoordinated.  At none of the intersections were they directing traffic; they were merely blocking off lanes and forcing drivers to go into directions they didn't want to go.  Actually, I must correct myself since that statement is inaccurate.  I did find a cop at one intersection with working signals who was directing traffic against the light cycle and causing more confusion than anything else.  He would have been much off going west several blocks to the major intersection without signals where no one knew how to respond. 

On my way home I turned to the news channel on the radio (I had plenty of time to listen since the police kept redirecting me farther and farther away from my home) and shook my head.  According to WTOP, those gas stations with power had lines panicky people desperate to fill up on gas, and some grocery stores were reporting increased traffic as people stocked up on essentials.

By the time I got to within a mile of my house me and several others like me (read either "tough, confident individuals who go into battle mode during a crisis and don't panic under pressure" or "arrogant, self-centered buttheads") were ignoring the craziness around us and just trying to get to where we were going.

What really bothered me was the inability of people to cope, both the civilian and the law enforcement.  Did the academy train the police how to direct traffic (stop all traffic, let one lane proceed at a time, repeat until the intersection is clear) or did they just not want to be bothered?  Would the driver who stopped in the middle of a four-lane highway to consult a map have done the same thing if the situation was "normal"?  (Sadly, being northern Virgina, the answer to that could be yes.)  This was a bright, sunny (and hot) day following a thunderstorm that did minimal damage. I shudder to think what would have happened if the dead came back to life (or some other, but not as much fun, natural disaster had occurred).

With regards to the incident above where five cars blocked five lanes because no one knew what to do, the Bostonian in me let out a string of invectives (I'm at my most creative when I'm combining blasphemies and insults into single descriptive phrases) and long, loud blares on the horn.  The writer in me realized that if this was the zombie apocalypse, me and everyone in my vehicle would be overrun and devoured or forced to set out on foot into the hordes of the living dead because of the actions of others.

So now I'm sitting home, venting my frustrations (and pretending it's a blog posting) surrounded by my pets who are staring at me with that "I thought you were going out?" look.  After doing some writing, I'll probably spend the night in front of the television.  But you can be sure I'll be watching Doomsday Preppers and taking notes. 

1 comment:

  1. Sadly, the conditions you describe are only an extension of the "let someone else be responsible for it" attitude that's so pervasive today. Virtually no one (especially in major population centers) knows how to manage for themselves without direction anymore.

    I often say when sitting in rush hour: at the beginning of this traffic jam are 4 people who don't know how to drive, screwing it up for everyone else. The truth is much worse; most of us are just as guilty.

    I have to go check my Armageddon kits now.