The Outbreak: August 2005

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

No word from my friend Josiah. This is not unusual, I guess, but I don't know whether he evacuated, whether he drowned, whether he was crushed, whether he was killed by the revenants that apparently now have free reign, whether he turned.

There are two upsides: 1) They are not strong swimmers; 2) The flooding and the destruction of the infrastructure actually probably destroyed more than a few of them.

Jesus Christ. Awful, just awful, as awful as anything I've seen since the outbreak. It would have taken months if not years to get things back up and running before the revs came--will we ever manage now?

Sunday, August 28, 2005

New Orleans

I don't even want to think about what is going to happen in New Orleans tonight. I never had the chance to visit, but it always seemed like the kind of city I'd love. I know it fared poorly in the initial outbreak, though it never became the totally lost city the rumours pegged it as for a while. (That would be Seattle, and to an extent Portland, I guess.) But this...the reports are non-stop, mainly, I guess, because the newspeople are happy to have another story to talk about finally, and they're terrifying. I did a quick google search and discovered that before the outbreak the projection was that a category five storm could kill anywhere from 20,000 to 100,000 people. That's not injuries, or people made homeless--that's fatalities. And we know what happens with fatalities now. And with the current leading origin hypothesis leaning toward Banda Aceh and the tsunami, you can't help but see the fearful symmetry.

I miss my friend Josiah. He was my best friend in college, and we want to do comics together someday. I've only been able to talk to him two or three times since the outbreak started. (He was always hard enough to get ahold of even before dead people started killing and eating live people.) He lives in New Orleans.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

It's not all resurrected dead cannibal misery around here

AMY: I see you haven't shaved this morning.
SEAN: Yep. This is my rally beard.
A: [silence]
S: Because I grew it in hopes that you'd be getting up soon!
A: Your rally beard? Sean, why would you call it your rally beard when you know it has nothing to do with me?
S: Because I'm just kidding around! Ha ha ha!
A: [pause, then gruffly] You are a--
S: [interrupting, protestingly] --a what? No! Not a something mean! A something nice!
A: What makes you think I was going to say something mean?
S: Call it a hunch.
A: What if I was going to say you were a sight for sore eyes?
S: Am I, Amy?
A: [pause] Yes. [pause] You're just also a jackass.

later that day

SEAN: Oh my God, Amy, I totally thought of you on the way to Home Depot--"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" came on my iPod, and I sang along to the whole thing. And not only do I not know ANY of the words except "don't stop 'til you get enough" and that at one point he says "eternal," the whole thing is ALSO in falsetto. So I sang along to EVERY WORD, loudly, in complete gibberish, in falsetto--your four least favorite things for me to do while singing along to a song. If you were there, you would have jumped out of the car while it was still moving. You know, and done one of those barrel rolls on the pavement.
AMY: I'd have jumped out and hit the ground running. To keep up the momentum. [pause] No, actually, I would have thrown you out of the car.
S: What, like undone my seatbelt and kicked me out with both feet?
A: No, sorta like roll you up in a little ball and slam dunk you off a bridge. Or maybe just into a passing convertible. [pause] Or hog-tie you. You know, hog-tie you? [mimics giving a hog-tied Sean the old "on three: one, two, THREE" heave-ho out of the car]

and finally

SEAN: [standing in the corner of the living room, silently making chopping motions]
AMY: What are you doing?
S: Karate chops.
A: Why?
S: Because of my skills.
A: What skills?
S: My skills as a karate chopper.
A: ...
S: This is going on the blog, isn't it?
A: Well now you're just deliberately saying things ridiculous enough to post about.

Real-life conversations, verbatim, people! Such light-hearted frivolity! Post your own in the comments! Learn to throw your voice, fool your friends, fun at parties!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Tomorrow is my niece's first birthday. This will be the only world she will ever know.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

It's your anniversary, happy anniversary

Yesterday was our third wedding anniversary. While it's safe to say that neither of us could possibly have imagined where we'd be at this point in time...well, I'm happy, is what I'd like to say. Happy with her, anyway, Me, not so much, but I'm trying. I'd imagine she feels this is a fairly accurate assessment of things. I've asked a lot of her since this started, asked her to forgive the drinking, asked her to forgive nearly getting myself killed. She, too, is trying. That's enough, more than I deserve. I do know that I love her more with each passing year, as cheesy as that sounds. I still think it's amazing that we even met (at a wedding reception for one of my cousins in Delaware, because we were the only ones there who knew how to do the Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Picture Show). To the extent I believe in things being meant to be at all, a notion which has certainly received quite a challenge to it if you ask me over the past few months, I believe I was meant to be with her. I'm lucky.

I think the most stressful thing is knowing that each night is a crap shoot. The other night I had a laryngospasm and woke up suffocating for a few seconds before I could breathe. My laryngospasms were always fewer and farther between and less severe than my dad's, but it scared the shit out of me this time. I don't want to die in the middle of the night; I don't want the last time Amy wakes up to be to me killing her. I don't want the last time I wake up to be to Amy killing me. I don't want Lucy to die either, the little mushpants that she is. I honestly think that this may have been harder on her than either of us simply because we couldn't find her usual cat food anymore, and are constantly giving her new brands. She gets sick all the time. But she's resilient, which is good. If she had snuck out the night when I blacked out and jumped off the deck, I never would have forgiven myself.

Right. Happy anniversary, honey. I love you.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Storm's coming, Ani

Last night there were some huge thunderstorms around here, and while I was in the bathroom at one point, the power went out for about a second. It was like I was a three-year-old kid again, scared of the dark.

Friday, August 12, 2005


Another drive, another sighting: A pair of revs this time, a young black guy and an old Asian woman with half her foot missing. These two seemed more potentially hostile than the junkie-zombie I saw the other day. They too were walking down the grass toward oncoming traffic, but they were a lot closer and had that look they get when they're hunting. But they must have figured out what happens if you get too close to a car moving at 50 mph, because they weren't just launching themselves at the nearest vehicle like a lot of revs did when things first started. I can't decide if this apparent capability for learning, at least as much as animals that live near a road can learn, is good or bad for us. I'm leaning toward good in this particular set of circumstances, because even though those kamikaze revs at the beginning may not have been able to smash open a moving car and pull people out, they caused a lot of accidents, at which point they either created more revs or ate the survivors. (I'm sorry to be so callous about it, but that's what they did, so let's not mince words.) That's a lot less likely to happen now.

As you may have been able to gather we've been doing a lot more driving recently--since we got back from Boston, really. As crazy as that journey may have been, and I think I've been so quiet about it BECAUSE it was so fucking insane to do--believe me, I could be telling stories almost daily--it was an enormously inspiring taste of semi-normalcy. (Hate that word. It's not really a word! Normality, people, normality. But English is a living language, so oh well.) It was sort of like an anti-cowardice inoculation. Now if a day goes by without spending at least half an hour in the car it feels like a failure. Let's just hope those emergency gas reserves hold up, because god only knows when they'll start being able to import from Saudi and Venezuela again.

On a final note, I decided to import my blogroll from my old site to this one. If you really want to bring yourself down, click around and see how many people are actually still alive and updating. Johnny Bacardi's family put up a lovely tribute to him, at least. He was a good blogger and a good guy.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Parkway sighting

Yesterday I was driving on my way back from visiting my folks, and I saw a "woman" walking down along the grass, on the wrong side of the parkway. She had long, frizzy bleached-blonde hair, a striped short-sleeve shirt, denim shorts, and white tennis shoes, and her face was frozen in this weird rictus of a smile. She must have been a junkie.

UPDATE: I meant "She must have been a junkie, before."

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Another today

Today I have "Star Me Kitten" by R.E.M. stuck in my head for no discernable reason.

Today I received an email from a person I don't know asking me to stop visiting his blog, and it's really knocked the wind out of my sails. I posted a comment on a post he had up about toilet paper, and he emailed me and told me he'd prefer for his blog to remain "friends and family only." At this point I don't even remember how I'd stumbled across it, but I'd been reading it pretty regularly, as I'm assuming you folks read this one. Of course I'll honor his request. I don't know why he'd start the blog if he didn't want people to see it, but "this heat" (new euphemism) does weird things to people. Lots of people don't want to drwa any more attention to themselves than is necessary. The outbreak took the lid off a lot of things and I don't know if we'll ever be able to put them back. How many people have you killed, for example? Live people, I mean, since this started? And how many of those of you who've killed are now in prison or awaiting trial? You see? Have you stolen cars or food or appliances knowing full well that you will never be prosecuted even if anyone knew? We've all gone a little bit predator, just as we've all gone a little bit prey. (I still wonder what my subconscious was up to when I blacked out and roamed the streets at night, or when my entire family drove from Long Island to Boston. Actually, I DON'T wonder, which is my point.)

But more than all that, today, it's the simple request to delink and de-visit that's hit me so hard. I start feeling like most everything is futile, especially attempts at recreating normalcy, and that there's no real human connections to be had. Like, there's nothing that you can do that will have a lasting impact a hundred years from now, so what's the point? Do you ever feel that way?

Amy's asleep in the other room. Maybe with the cat, I don't know. We had another one of those "What do you want to do?" "I don't know, what do YOU want to do?" "Whatever YOU want to do" semi-fights, and I think she just gave up and took a nap. I've been roaming around the Internet, looking at photos of hipster parties taken before, and getting asked not to visit people's sites anymore. Has anyone else noticed that Angelfire is gone? There are no Angelfire sites anymore. And my first reaction to discovering this was "ha ha, fuckers, serves you right for being such dickheads about hotlinking to your images, even through Google image searches, fucking lameasses." Angelfire, shit, that reminds me of surfing the internet in college almost nine years ago now. Looking for sites dedicated to the Prodigy and KMFDM and the Illuminatus! Trilogy. Bad html backgrounds. Now what the fuck happened to them, they're phased out.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

When this post goes live, another month will be added to the archive list over on the right. Looking at it just now I'm struck by how the time just goes on and on, stretching out like a gray ribbon ahead of us, no end in sight. Not to be maudlin or anything. Well, fuck it, yeah, to be maudlin or anything. It sucks. It's fucking terrible is what it is. These little shopping expeditions, watching Law & Order on DVD, blah blah blah. We've all of us still lost people we'll never get back, and society's lost something it may never get back too.

I don't know. I take it back--I'm sorry to be maudlin. As i write this I'm listening to "Mary" by Scissor Sisters. Maybe that's got something to do with it.

This heat is beastly. Yesterday our refrigerator looked like it was dying. The compressor kept trying to click on but failing, like every 30 seconds or so. Amy and I got a little panicky because we'd finally accrued a decent stock of perishable food, and with the temperature the way it is we could well have lost it all if the fridge crapped out. And who knows how easy or hard it might be to replace it? We'd end up having to share with the Leopolds, and there are too damn many people in this house for that to work out well. By the time Kurt (still our landlord, y'know?) came home and came up to look at it, though, it had apparently fixed itself. We cleaned out the back of the fridge, half-filling the vaccuum with dirt and dust and crap. Maybe the buildup was the problem, though Kurt said it wasn't as bad as it'd need to be to have a real effect on the fridge.

The last time our refrigerator crapped out on us was the big summer East Coast blackout in, what, 2003? I think that's when it was. I was at work at the time, and the computers stopped working. This was not at all an unusual occurrence for that office, so we didn't think much of it until we realized playing with the fuses wasn't bringing anything back on. By then the guys in the office next door came by saying their stuff was off too. And by then you could look out on the street and figure out that this was going on at least up and down the whole block. And by then you heard it was the whole city. Then the whole East Coast. Then you were filing out of the building down the darkened stairs, hoping it wasn't terrorism again. But it wasn't--it just ended up being a big blackout, and basically a citywide block party. It actually would have been fun if it wasn't so goddamn hot, and if Amy didn't have to go to the residential treatment facility the next morning. I ended up walking from the West Village to someplace in Brooklyn to hang out at my coworker's house until it blew over. My plan was to take the train from Flatbush Avenue to Jamaica to Bellmore, because the estimates said they'd get the power back on by like 1 or 2 am or so, and Amy and I had to leave for the facility by 8am that morning if she was to be admitted this week. But Amy wisely insisted on driving out to Brooklyn--with no lights, no stoplights, nothing--and picking me up; wisely because of course they didn't get the power on again for hours and hours and hours. I waited for her on a corner, watching people walk by. She'd gotten directions from me from the guy whose house I was at, but they had the exit she needed to take closed, so she ended up driving around Brooklyn looking for me, asking people where such-and-such intersection was. We ended up getting four hours of sleep that night, in 85 degree heat, and the next morning I drove her down to Philly and she checked in. Anyway, we lost most of the stuff in the fridge, and there was a thin layer of melted chocolate ice cream on the bottom of our freezer for months until Amy finally got fed up with it and cleaned it up.

Looking back, more than anything I miss the way everyone came together.