Cleanliness is…not all it’s cracked up to be

Since my dirty little secret was discovered by my Dad a couple of weeks ago, I’ll just come out and say it. The backseat of my car looks like a landfill. Okay, fine, if we’re being honest…my entire car looks like a landfill. So much random crap has somehow piled up, I don’t even know how it got there. My daughter gets about 10 letters a day from colleges and universities about available scholarships or why she should pick their institute. Toss it in the back. On top of that I get my own fair share of junk mail. Toss that in the back, too. Then, there’s leftover plastic and paper from the fast food we get all too often (who has time to cook these days?). What else is in the trash heap I call my car? Oh, empty plastic bottles. Lots of empty plastic bottles. We drink a lot of water and soda in that car.

Somehow, none of this stuff, not the mail nor the bags nor the bottles nor the balled-up napkins, seems to make it from my car to the place it belongs…the garbage can! So what ends up happening is whenever someone has to get into my car I have to apologize like an idiot and blurt out something dismissive like “Oh, ignore the mess!” as I sweep away enough of the debris so they can sit down without making a loud crunching sound. It’s bad enough when I have to shamefully clear space for a friend, but it’s even worse when a family member, like my aforementioned Dad, has to get into the car for some reason. My fear when he returned from his foray into the confines of my precariously overburdened vehicle was that he likely thought something along the lines of, “Is this what I’ve taught my daughter to be?” Why yes, Dad. This is me in all my glory.

It’s so bad I’m not even sure someone could ride in the backseat if they had to. Not without doing a massive cleanup effort first. At the very least I’d have to shove the mountain of refuse to the side and whoever’s unlucky enough to be stuck in the back would have to lean on the pile lest it consume them like a tidal wave if I take a turn too sharp.

Peppered throughout the mess are useful things, things I need. Things that just haven’t made it into the house yet but that I will eventually, most definitely need to use. Whenever I have to find one of these things I end up tossing litter over my shoulders while I swear up and down that tomorrow will be the day I finally get around to cleaning the car once and for all. It’s always tomorrow. And tomorrow never seems to come. The intention is there, it’s just the follow-through that’s lacking.

Recently, my daughter and I were driving to the sole convenience store in our rinky-dink little town. We were laughing because, just like every night after 8pm, the roads were pretty much deserted. It’s like the town rolls up the streets at dusk and a curfew goes into effect because nighttime is when the zombies come out — you know how they do. Oh, and in a complete and utter horror story mash-up, I must say that with the way this store is situated, when we leave and I look out across the parking lot to the other side of the main street, I fully expect to see Michael Myers standing there, under the street light, his hockey mask gleaming in the faded yellowish glow…or is that Jason over there? Why hello, Jason. Excuse me while I freak out a bit over here. That’s how creepy my town is after 8pm.

So anyway, on this particular night, after we were done in the store and getting back in the car, my daughter reminds me to look in the backseat just to make sure no zombies or axe murderers are hiding back there. Cause you never know. It’s always a good idea to look in the backseat. I mean, we’ve all seen the movies. We know how that ends.

Then I realized that even if a zombie or axe murderer or kidnapper wanted to hide in the back, they wouldn’t be able to hide. Too much junk! He’d be flailing around back there like a kid in a ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese, only noisier. At the very least, his presence would be quickly detected by the loud rustling, crinkling, and crunching from all of the discarded papers and plastic bottles. It would be very similar to the old Looney Tunes cartoons where all of the mousetraps or tacks are set out for the hapless victim…you just couldn’t miss one if you tried and hitting one would start a domino effect where you landed on another and another and another. It would give even the most stealthy of zombies away in a heartbeat…okay, well, ummm…maybe not a heartbeat since they’re zombies…but it would be pretty damn fast, let me tell you.

So, that’s the bright side I’m choosing to focus on. My car has its own handy-dandy alarm system that I installed myself one piece of junk mail at a time. It’s a rather cheap alarm, but damn if it’s not effective. And since the “trash” has been re-purposed as an anti-theft device, technically I’m also recycling at the same time. Go me!

Soooo…we’re clever, smart, frugal, AND most importantly – safe.  A win-win situation…unless you’re a zombie.

Night Life

A ghost town? Zombie apocalypse? Martial law curfew due to an adopted demigod’s adorable grin and glorious purpose? (sorry, just got done watching Avengers for the 12th time)

No. This is just small town nightlife at its best – at 10:00 p.m.  But it wouldn’t be any different at 9:30 p.m. Or even 9:15 p.m.  Everything closes up shop at 9:00 p.m. or earlier and then boy howdy, you could roll up the streets it’s so damn empty.  We have a 7-11 in town (pics below) but no one is ever there, at least not when we are. It’s amazing, frankly, just how dead this town is after dusk. You’d seriously think we’re in some kind of horror story just living out the writer’s sick fantasy.

If there IS someone walking down the road, it’s creepy as hell and you look really close (okay I look really close, not sure about everyone else) to see if they have on a mask and are carrying a bloody axe (although you’d think the requisite accompanying spine-chilling musical score would sort of give them away).  I’m also quick to check to see if they present with any of the obvious symptoms that indicate they’ve somehow or other been touched by the zombie infection. You can never be too careful. I like my brains where they are thank you very much.

Sadly, just my luck, the impulsive adopted demigod with the impish grin would never visit such an out-of-the-way, shutter the stores and roll up the streets at dusk sort of seaside town.  More’s the pity.

7-11 in town, the car you see is mine

the parking lot of the 7-11 in town, the car you see is mine, and although lit up, the place across the street is closed

 

the other side of the parking lot at 7-11...not unusual

other side of the parking lot…no zombies thankfully, but they do have chips

 

the one intersection/light in town and not a soul in sight

the one intersection/light in town and not a soul in sight…lights are on, but no one’s home — or out and about

 

 

I’m that Friend

Not to be vain or anything, but I’m that friend you want around should we ever have a zombie apocalypse or a Purge situation.  Oh, not because I’m great with a crossbow or even a shotgun, but rather because should I ever at some point in time ever have to run for my life, I can guarantee you, I’m not gonna make it. I’d certainly buy you those few extra minutes you might need to make it to safety. So, yeah. You definitely want me on your team.

Why no, no I am not.

WHY NO, NO I AM NOT.

Zombie School

I think it’s safe to say that for the past few years America has been falling in love with zombies all over again. As the age of consumerism continues to spiral out of control and more of us are plastered to our phone screens regardless of if we’re walking, driving, on the bus, in a meeting, waiting for someone to come out of the bathroom, having a cigarette, can’t fast forward our DVR, (the list goes on, you get the point) it’s no wonder that The Walking Dead is such a hit. Every day we get a touch more zombified while simultaneously hypnotized by our ability to send and receive information from across the globe at faster rates. The metaphor is very strong right now.

World War Z was more of a financial success than anyone thought given the disastrous coverage it received while filming. And Max Brooks’ career has been wildly successful with his string of novels (both mainstream and graphic) detailing what the hell we need to do should the dead decide they weren’t all that tired anymore.

So it should come as no surprise what I’ve recently seen…in the news. Apparently it is newsworthy to report on new businesses that offer zombie survival seminars. Yes, for just a few hundred dollars you can attend a one-night or weekend long session that teaches you the hands-on skills you need to outwit and defeat the undead. How is this news exactly? If they reported on unicorn riding lessons or magic carpet driving schools would we still think of our local news as a legitimate source of reporting?

Then again…maybe they know something we don’t and that’s why they’re pushing the class (a rumor that the CDC has been re-animating mouse cells?). Since there are apparently at least a few classes available from different pretty clever (or shrewd?) entrepreneurs, it must be something that people are seriously considering. Now I’m wondering if there’s something I don’t know. Did I not get the memo? I will be seriously embarrassed if I’m sitting at home one day eating some Captain Crunch and reading a book when the zombies come and I’m the only fool to get killed because everyone else had a heads up and were already halfway to the desert.

I guess if some authority, say the Secretary of Defense were to come on TV and announce, “Hey everyone, zombies are on the way. You have two weeks til the shit hits the fan” I’d be willing to take a class. Or maybe, as my daughter suggests, we should take the class “just in case.”  As with so many things in life …you just never know.

But if we’re thinking about this realistically then what good can this class actually do? Have we ever once in our existence encountered a real zombie? Sure there have been a ton of movies, shows, stories, and debates about them, but as of today they’re about as real as the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus (sorry kids).

That being said, how do these schools know what actually kills zombies? The “shoot ‘em in the head thing” was made up (by a director) because it makes a good visual, but in actuality it makes zero sense. All I’m saying is that all we know about dealing with zombies are taken from B movies, cult classics, and popular TV shows. Not exactly what I’d call experts in the field (because there is no field to begin with). So if the bullet to the brain doesn’t work then what? And what if the zombies run faster in real life than they do in the movies? That would put a serious kink in my plan (which has always involved just walking away at a brisk pace).

The classes that were advertised…um…I mean reported on…seem to concentrate on the “old school” zombies—the lumbering, stupid, brain-munching ones that move about 1-mph.  Well, what if none of the techniques they teach in class work?  I’m sure it’d be the farthest thing from my mind if I did take the class then one unholy day find out that they were way off base, but still…if I survived the apocalypse, I better be getting a refund.

zombies

Stranded (I wish)

You know that old phrase, “If you were ever stranded on a desert island…” Meh, I’m not a huge fan of that. It’s not like I have anything against beaches or sunshine or lounging in the sand. I just happen to have a better place in mind to be stranded should the next polar vortex or zombie apocalypse rear its ugly (and rotting) head. Put me in a bookstore before any place else. It’s the one place I know of that never gets boring. A desert island, yeah, it sounds nice but I think I might get tired of eating coconut every day and seeing the same damn horizon day in and day out. In a bookstore nothing remains the same. Around every corner and on every shelf is a new landscape to traverse, a different perspective to consider, a unique set of lives to explore. It’s a sanctuary of endless possibility and I revel in the impossible task of trying to find that nonexistent end. I can’t think of anything better than being stuck to while my days away in a Barnes and Noble…especially one with a Starbucks in-house. Throw in some pastries and caffeine and that pretty much sums up Nirvana for me….even if zombies are knocking at the door.

stranded at bookstore

Grocery Store Madness (Or, Is the Zombie Apocalypse Upon Us Already!?)

Not long ago I went to the grocery store with my daughter and I could swear that news of the Zombie Apocalypse had just broken.  And I was worried as I crossed the parking lot because frankly, I’m just not ready.  Once those sliding glass doors inviting us inside noiselessly parted to allow us entry, I was suffocated in the full-blown frenzy that was housed within those walls. Pushing my cart through the aisles was like playing a game of Rollerball. All that was missing was an announcer on a stage, columns of flames shooting up behind him, bellowing, “Welcome to my Pleasuredome!” After navigating through the lanes and getting all our food items without suffering any serious injuries, I saw that the real madness was waiting for us in the checkout lines.

Now this particular grocery store has 9 different check-out lines. Want to wager a guess as to how many were manned by cashier personnel, given of course the mad-house state the store was in?  Three. Yep. Three.  The lines wound all the way back into the aisles. Did we accidentally stumble into a buy-one-get-fifty free promotion? It was like a Black Friday sale at Walmart.

just one line meandering around and into a loop

just one line meandering around and into a loop
doesn’t do it justice at all

Sensing the waves of consumers crashing their gates, another checkout line opened up to alleviate some of the stress. While I should have been first for that line (since I had obviously been waiting longer than anyone behind me) it instead turned into a full-on logistics operation trafficked by the woman behind me who had apparently appointed herself as the line coordinator. She immediately started organizing the queue. “You go, then you go, then I’ll go, then you go,” she said. Normally this effort at streamlining operations would be commendable except that she completely forgot about us. Or ignored us. She was the bouncer at the velvet entry rope and my daughter and I weren’t on the list. Not surprisingly this pissed me off.

Sure, I could’ve just gone over to that line and made a scene since I was in the right (and in a mood), but it just didn’t seem worth it. Let everyone else act like the end of the world is approaching. I didn’t want to be part of the rabid tenacity that skewed rhyme and reason all for a dozen eggs. It ended well enough. No one was killed, the zombies didn’t come, and all was tranquil when we made it outside again.

I’m proud that my patience and my sometimes sharp tongue (okay, okay, no laughing from the peanut gallery over there) were held in check. It reminded me that sometimes the fight just isn’t worth it. Know when to pick your battles is an adage I’m trying to follow. Saving five minutes in the grocery store isn’t one that I’m willing to fight and recognizing that (for once) made me feel pretty good.