“Maybe we’re all Zombies. There seems to be an awful lot of interest in the undead lately. Have you considered that you might be a Zombie? I have.” The young woman at my latest retreat into the understanding of other realms was beginning to grate on me.
As it turned out, many of us there had had Near Death Experiences, or Channel Surfing Experiences, or visits from ET’s, one of those fun little coincidences I’d come to expect. My interest in language began playing with the idea of how one described learning to expect the coincident, how to modify the idea of synchronicity when the unusual nature of it gets thrown out.
The retreat was a weekend in the mountains learning survival skills and native flora. New England was a realm I wasn’t all that familiar with; I’d done my work in botany in the desert. Survival, in general, I was pretty good at, but it never hurts to brush up on the latest techniques.
“I sure hope not. I know a coyote who wages constant war with the Zombies, and I don’t want to get on his bad side.” We were walking along a well marked trail pretending that the ability to do so would make purist mountaineer survivalists out of us. We’d learned all about how to cut up vegetables the day before. “Besides, you don’t look much like a Zombie to me.” I smiled at her.
“No, I meant you, I was trying to be nice by being inclusive before. I know I’m not a Zombie, I’m an angel. I was thinking maybe you were a Zombie.” It was a good thing we weren’t cutting up vegetables just then.
“Well, I don’t know. I’ll ask my friend.” There really was a Zombie slaying coyote, what can I say? And his little dog, too. He fearlessly slayed the dead at night and earned his living writing false birth announcements for their souls during the day. It was killing him, but made him feel alive. Turns out, there are lots of shape shifters out there, you see them all the time once you really start looking and learn to recognize them.
To be honest, Zombie had occurred to me. Perhaps it had all been purgatory since standing up off the bathroom floor; that certainly had been a purgative experience for me. Mayhaps the end of the world had happened back in 2012, just like the Mayans said it was going to, and we were all the walking dead. Keith Richards and Mick Jagger sure looked like death warmed over of late.
“Being an angel is great!” She was so perky. “I spread happiness and sunshine wherever I go! That’s because I’m so sparkly and happy and full of love for all of Mother Gaia’s creatures!” She swatted a mosquito that landed on her arm.
The old fart of a trail guide who had been pointing out the poison ivy to us as we walked along stopped to let us catch up. He was smiling at Starling, my trail buddy.
“There’s a lake up ahead. We can all take off our clothes and cool off!” No, that wasn’t a smile, it was a leer. A jet. A small fast one. A couple of the old ladies in the group were already shedding their clothes up ahead.
“Oh gooodie!” Starling giggled.
Fine, I’m a fucking Zombie. The Auntie Christ Zombie of a harpy eagle, friend to Godzilla and the Hellhounds. If I have to watch Starling and Ralph romp in the lake, I’ll start looking for brains to eat for sure. Apparently I’d been thinking out loud. A carp replied.
How do you think I feel about it?
Fortunately, Google continues to have all the answers. The first hit I got when I started investigating Zombies was from NPR, and it had the nicely bulleted list of characteristics one could attribute to Zombiehood. I was pretty sure I was in the clear there. It did lead to a link that listed all sorts of other undead types, but I decided to kill that line of thinking. If all that had happened in the past few years had been the waiting room for the hereafter, why the hell did I still have to go out and buy toilet paper? That made no sense. And why were there so many toilet paper choices when I needed to be thinking about eternity?
But the trolls. My god, the trolls. They jump up on the shoulder and stick their little trolly dicks in your ear and start pumping away, making squeaky little troll noises as they go at it. By the time the mindfucking trolls got done with me, I was a borderline mess.
I was paranoid that I’d be thought of as schizoid if I got too excited about the pronoia thing, that would be schizotypical. I ran to the mirror to make sure I wasn’t being too antisocial or narcissistic, my avoidance of people was totally dependent on how obsessive/compulsive I felt on any give day. I had a clusterfuck of conditions according to the trolls, and every bloody one of them had a bulleted list of characteristics to look at.
Luckily I figured out the pattern to their standardized exams quickly and now can test as any kind of looney tunes I’d like to come across as. I’m planning on using the skill to apply for disability. Once I mastered Jung’s archetypes and that silly little test that Myers and Briggs made, I could answer those questions the way they wanted to be answered as well, depending on which of those types was testing. Eve's three faces got nothing on me, move on over Sybil, the Auntie Christ is fixing to come up with a new one for test books. Or textbooks. Same thing.
Coyote ain’t the only trickster around Deadsville.
Maybe I’m pronoid, who knows, but if I’m an undead Zombie, it’s not so bad. I hear the cervelle de veau at L’Espalier is to die for.
Linda Brooke Stabler, Ph.D.