The Outbreak: May 2005

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

This is in terrible taste. I laughed anyway. Sometimes you have to.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Happy Memorial Day

Today we've been keeping the doors between the floors open and having a barbecue to "celebrate." None of us are quite feeling confident enough to go outside, not since the business at NUMC yesterday, but I brought the indoor/outdoor George Foreman in from the deck, cleaned it up, and it pretty much has worked fine. The Leopolds had some frozen patties they were saving for a special occasion. This was special enough. Amy and I still had like one veggie burger that had fallen out of the box and was hidden behind a big vat of Edy's ice cream at the bottom of the freezer. That's what she had. Pretty much.

The main thing is that when we were down on the Leopold's floor playing with the dogs Amy went into the bathroom, and I followed her in and saw she was standing on the scale. 96 pounds. With clothes. I don't know how I didn't notice before. Part of it, I guess, is that everyone stays so bundled up, even inside. It's a tough habit to shake. Another part is that obviously we've all had other things to worry about. On the other hand, how SCREAMINGLY OBVIOUS should it be that an anorexic vegetarian with almost crippling mortality issues might have trouble with a massive epidemic of cannibalism? Our therapist is dead, she hasn't been able to get in touch with her own therapist since this all started, he's probably dead too, the Renfrew Center god only knows, and it's ridiculous to even think about that anyway. Meanwhile there's only so much food to go around, and there's only so much she'll eat anyway. The oatmeal plan has been pretty helpful, so I'm going to make sure she's sticking to it, like glue. We'll save other things for, you know, special occasions.

I know she misses her family, her dogs. I know she doesn't want to lose anyone, doesn't believe that loss is "natural," feels like she can't survive the everyday tragedies of life let alone this hideousness. I know I couldn't save her from herself before and I can't do it now.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

More tips from here from what I can gather from people, here at message center central

* If you see a huge group of revs together, let the authorities, however they are constituted, know. When things were at their worst at the beginning the crews would deliberately lure as many as they could to one spot. It is much, much easier to take them down en masse than one by one house to house. I realize in some areas this may be a problem, but as soon as you can get the word out to someone, do it.

* Stay inside. Common sense, simple common sense. Everyone goes stir crazy now and then, I know, but stay off the roads unless you absolutely have to. That is the easiest way for it to spread. Again, when things were at their worst they barely needed to go inside anyone's homes--they could just grab them out of cars like a fucking buffet. Stay inside, stay off the roads.

* Things to stay away from: Old people. Sick people. Bitten people. Hospitals. Outlookers. (as in "I'm gonna go out looking for 'em. Hand me those shells, will you?") Apartment buildings.

* Stock up on oatmeal. Three bowls of oatmeal a day and you'll be fine, if this is an issue.

* A gun beats a bludgeoning implement beats a stabbing implement beats bare hands.

* If there is a rarely spoken-about history of substance abuse in your family then do not drink so much.

* Take it when you can get it

Dave? Sam? All my favorite online friends, why the radio silence? Why why WHY

Friday, May 27, 2005

Know where to run

A propos of the comment thread below: From what I understand the exurbs are hit or miss. My in-laws live in one in Colorado about halfway between Denver and Boulder, all brand-new development homes. Theirs is okay, but they know of ones that have gone dead. People just flee into the prairies and hills since there's so much open road, and whoever's left is dead or revved. So the empty areas around them are probably hit or miss as well. If shantytowns or camps are being set up you might be better off steering clear, I'd guess. The official news is almost 100% bullshit at this point--when was the last time you saw a reporter you recognize from before the outbreak?--but an occasional nugget of truth filters through if they can use it to justify something or other, and even they're talking about hijacking.

Things here are not nearly as bad, but I'm thinking of going with a crew. Maybe. We do our part.

I would like to add: I remember the days when I used to read and Robert Anton Wilson's "nonfiction" books. I considered myself a Discordian. I suppose I still do. I remember posting pages from the Principia Discordia on the doors of the Skull & Bones tomb--this was BEFORE both major-party Presidential candidates were Bonesmen, by the way. Then I grew out of my conspiracy phase because I realized I don't really believe in much of anything. Skepticism makes better sense. And yet I stand by what I said above: the news is now bullshit. The thing to note, though, is that there is no puppetmaster pulling the strings that I can figure. Now it's just a collective drive on the part of the infrastructure to cover its ass. Meanwhile people still die every day. Something like 237,000 people died in this country last year I think. Figure half of those? Even being conservative and saying a third? Plus the bite victims?

How are my in-laws you ask? They're fine. But I get the sense they're keeping something from us. Blunt and prosaic but the true story of our life today.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

I fell off the wagon

This ended up being a lost weekend for me. My first ever, as a matter of fact. I blacked out for the first time since that big party my freshman year, the time they found me curled around a toilet that several people had used by peeing over me into the bowl. I don't think it was the drinking that did me in so much as it was the ambien, which you can basically watch kicking in during the previous post. Booze: I got lucky and happened to be at the Food Mart down the street when a beer truck pulled in. I'm telling you, the whole neighborhood acted like zombies when they saw it--it was a flood. I paid probably five times what each case was actually worth, but what the fuck. Ambien: We've still got lots of everything, though Amy's been going through them at a decent pace. Me, not so much, but this weekend...this is going to sound absolutely ridiculous considering the amount of people I know who have lost parents and close friends and s.o.'s and children, but I got so so so pissed off that I'm probably not ever going to see the final Star Wars movie that I just couldn't take it anymore. I'm sure I'm not the only person who worried about getting killed in a terrorist attack before The Lord of the Rings could finish; same deal here, only this time it came true. Would I have preferred a dirty bomb to crazy dead people trying to kill and eat everyone? Would you be offended if I said yes at this point, oh dear readers?

Amy talked to my Grandmother on the phone for a while as I was recuperating this morning/afternoon. (Amy is not very happy with the amount of drinking that I did--the last thing she needs is me to puke and trigger her phobia--but I think everyone is very understanding of the need to self-medicate at this point so she's dealing with it.) She found out that my great-grandfather used to have wild parties and get very drunk and rambunctious, then lock the door and prevent anyone from leaving until he decided the party was over.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Two things that would have happened this weekend

1. My sister would have graduated from college. Villanova. She was actually much better situated for post-college life than either Ryan or I were. I wonder what she would have ended up doing--last I heard she had some sort of internship lined up in Philly. I talked to her today and I think we'll be going over there tomorrow, if possible. I know she misses her friends, and her boyfriend. I'm pretty sure she's been able to talk to them all.

2. Star Wars Episode III. I was so, so tired of having to defend loving Star Wars to the hipper nerds back in the day. Now I guess I don't have to worry about that anymore. Good. I don't miss it. I've had no fewer than four different dreams in which I "watched" major chunks of this movie, and I hope I have more. The last one was actually hideous. It involved some sort of prelude to episode IV, in which Luke was from earth and was involved with a gang of children who were slaughtered by another gang of children. I'm talking shotguns at point blank range, children strangling each other. It ended with Luke hanging a man from a tree with piano wire.

I'm sorry, my heart is not in this today.

Oh, wait, update on the Leopolds, our landlords. They're not making us pay rend anymore. No one is sure how much that sort of thing matters anymore, or for how long it might matter, but it still feels nice of them. They've got a lot to deal with since Mike's girlfriend disappeared. Kurt joined one of the crews, mainly to find medicine for Jim in abandoned houses. And that's the WAY it is.

Back on the ambien tonite!!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Two dreams

First dream
I'm driving home from work, or trying to, but it's the apocalypse. Terrorists are conducting spectacular attacks on virtually everything taller than two stories; you can watch the highrises and apartment buildings as smoke and flame billows out of all their windows, floor by floor. I know that civilization cannot withstand this conflagration. I'm racing home to be with Amy, but the Tappan Zee and Throgs Neck bridges are both about to give way. Many of their steel beams are burned, curled up, twisted, and broken apart from the roadway. I have to speed across the bridges at 90 mph in order to get clear of them before they collapse. I watch my car hurtle down the bridge from above, like the O.J. chase. Once I reach the other side of the bridge, I'm suddenly looking at a Hot Wheels car, rolling back and forth at the end of the bridge as the momentum carries it almost over the edge of the rising terrain, then gives way to gravity as it rolls back down. I'm also feeling the controls like I'm playing Grand Theft Auto, trying to fight against momentum and inertia. Eventually I get back home but home is one of those huge institutional spaces I always dream about; this one is more like a hospital. Actually, now that I think about it, it's like the brightly lit, empty hospital at the beginning of 28 Days Later. In addition to the terrorist attacks and reprisals the apocalypse is being brought on by plants that grow out of control, huge thick (like the thickness of a car) tentacle-like vines that simply grow and grow and grow and impale and wrap around and crush any humans they come across. The whole world will be swallowed by them. Suddenly the policemen and firemen we're with realize that water causes the plants to disintegrate. They start battling the vines back with fire hoses.

Second dream
My sister is dead. She died of a violent allergic reaction to something. I find out and drop to my knees, crying. I worry how we're going to tell her boyfriend. I think to myself that I just don't get it--she was there, and now she's not. The line of her life has simply stopped. I miss her so much.

Real life
Still absolutely no word of or from my cousin Christopher.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Lovely day

It is beautiful outside today, and despite myself I can't help but want to go out, at least for a little while, and enjoy it. But I'm so tired of wearing hats and gloves and jackets and multiple layers, and the thought of being buried under all that when it's warm out is too much. It probably doesn't even matter--most likely it's like duct-taping your windows after the anthrax attacks. But you have one run-in with those things and you just can't help but want as much between you and them as possible. Every little bit helps, as they say.

Maybe I'll go out on the deck for a little while. That's safe enough.

Friday, May 13, 2005

I am the message center

Hello to Benjamin and Edgy Mama, who left comments in the post below. Hello to everyone who visits this page. I myself go to a lot of blogs every day--reminding myself that everyone is going through more or less the same thing is a big part of my routine now. Sometimes it's helpful, sometimes it's the opposite of helpful, but usually the former. Welcome everyone.

Sunday was Mother's Day. You know what? It was the first day since this all started that I didn't think of them. Is that weird? I wonder how she would have dealt with all of this.Sean - have you heard from Dave since last week? I had a couple of emails with him since you found about his family, but I haven't heard anything in a while.
I thought of your mom and everyone on Mother's Day, too. I wasn't able to see my parents that day--the situation on the Southern State was always bad enough on Mother's Day even before all this shit, so I didn't even try. But I was able to talk to my mom for a bit, and I realize fully how lucky that makes me. Actually, I said that to her a couple of times, which made her cry, which I didn't want to do. Hope you got through the day alright, Kenneth.

And no, I haven't heard from Dave. Given how things are in Seattle (same as in Rhode Island? Who the hell knows) I don't know if that's because of his parents or because of something worse, and I can't believe there could even BE anything worse. You know what? I've got to get over this disbelief nonsense. This is just how it is now. We all did it a few years ago and we can all do it again.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Yesterday I went to try and drive to the supermarket to see what they had, and when I turned the corner onto North Jerusalem, there one was. It looked older than any I had seen before--I mean that it looked like it had been a rev for longer, not that it was an old man. It was just standing in the middle of the road by the funeral home, where I'm assuming it had come from. I turned right around and called the squads, but I wasn't really all that scared. What was scarier to me than the thing itself was the fact that the squads must have MISSED it when they swept the area, and since I know how long it took them to work on that funeral home, they were either completely thorough and somehow this one slipped through anyway, or they were slipshod about it. I don't know which one I'd prefer to be true--I'd prefer neither to be true, really.

Still no produce at Stop & Shop, by the way, though I was able to grab a jar of applesauce that someone had stuck behind the soup cans. It was a little like how when I used to go shopping at Tower Records and I didn't have enough money for a certain album, but it was the last one in the store and I really wanted it, so I'd tuck it behind some completely unrelated artist's CDs so it would be there when I came back later in the week with enough money to finally buy it. Someone must have done this for this applesauce for whatever reason. Sorry.

Trying not to resent what this has all done to my sex life is very stressful. Stupid and stressful. But what can I say? It's been such a struggle ever since we got married and we were finally making some progress. Now she's not eating again. You can feel the weight of it on your neck, just pushing down.

Friday, May 06, 2005


You forget little things about your old life. Don't you? Mine was our therapist. He was a terrific therapist--kind, funny, insightful, able to validate both of our feelings without putting the other person on the defensive. We'd all but annihilated the awful, gut-wrenching, screaming and crying and storming away type fights we used to have--I mean, we hadn't had any like that in a long time, but we really put them in the ground with Dr. M. And we were making progress in everything, even the sex department. Then along came the attacks and all this goes on the back burner.

On Wednesday I found out that Dr. M. had died. It had nothing to do with the revenants and everything to do with them. He woke up one morning with a terrible pain in his side. His wife rushed him to the hospital, but there was an outbreak going on and they were funnelling everyone through this labrynthine security detour into shitty makeshift facilities, and by the time the doctors got to him the aneurysm had burst.

I miss him a lot. I don't understand death, I don't think. It's like your life is a line that's being drawn, drawn, drawn, and then all of a sudden the line stops. He was there and now he's not.

This also highlights something I've been meaning to say, and I wonder if they'll ever start saying it officially: Hospitals are accidents waiting to happen. I've heard about a couple of situations that got totally out of control, even AFTER the initial outbreak was quelled. And yes, that's on the East Coast. You take sick, wounded, bitten people and concentrated them in big buildings, and all it takes is one person to slip away in his sleep. Pretty soon you could have a whole floor full. And not every area has the kind of security infrastructure that Nassau seems to have at this point. Hell, you see what happens when they stumble across a pocket in Manhattan. Hospitals are self-resupplying pockets, basically. I do not like being so near Nassau University Medical Center, that's for sure.

And I miss my therapist.

Monday, May 02, 2005

North Korea

I was wondering when we were first going to hear this sort of news. If you had told me a month and a half ago that the government of North Korea had fallen I'd have been overjoyed. Now I just wonder what it fell to. But I have a feeling we all know.