I don't know what it is about zombies, but they're the enemy that I'm secretly expecting. Now, given that I have over 40 years of zombie-free life experience, plus historically this hasn't been a frequently occurring issue, it seems a bit bizarre to have zombies on my mind when I think of impending doom. I'm also scared of an alien invasion but I feel like that's less likely.
I blame my father. He loved Sci Fi and B movies so from a young age I was exposed to all kinds of creepy nonsense in the name of fun. Since then I've seen most of the zombie movies, read lots of books and turned into a bit of an obsessed fan of the series The Walking Dead (and it's spin off series - Fear the Walking Dead and The Talking Dead).
I have an actual plan. If the apocalypse kicks off, you want to be in my vicinity as I have it all covered. I'm even prepared for the unexpected. Well, you can't be too careful. A few years ago Mark and I went to Dan Willis’s show in Edinburgh about surviving a zombie apocalypse. Or rather, Mark went to a show. I went on a training course.
They say it's important to let your family know your wishes should the worst happen. My kids sometimes discuss between themselves which of them I'll take on my squad and who'll be the bait we use as a distraction when we make our getaway. They know that I'll carry know no passengers. In Ria Lina’s set she discusses making sure your kids know they have to earn your love.
Have I taken this a step too far?
I suspect that the fascination actually stems from the unlikely nature of the event. Our world is very troubled and there are terrifying realities out there for many people every day, dictators, war, abuse… We have people in positions of authority over us who we wouldn't even want in our pub quiz team, and they have so much undeserved power.
Add to that the fact that today's technology means that you can find anyone, anywhere. There's nowhere to hide. If a disaster meant that everything was switched off, no electricity, no armaments, would we be safer? I think it's easier to plan for the fictional enemies than to dwell on those who may really exist.
I wonder if this is common for people who are descended from nations that have experienced genocide in their history?
Some years ago, Jerry Springer hosted an episode of his eponymous show where he met members of the KKK. At the end, for his final thought, he told this personal story (copied from his book as I was unable to find the clip):
Several years ago, before my parents died, I went to visit them in New York. My dad was seventy-eight at the time and he had this big old Chevrolet that he kept in the garage at the apartment building they lived at in Queens. He didn't drive it much anymore because frankly, it was too dangerous; his eyes weren't too good, his reflexes had slowed considerably and being really short he could barely see over the steering wheel anyway. And my mom was deathly afraid every time he took it out for a ride. In fact, she refused to go along with him and begged him to please sell the car.
But he stubbornly refused, so Mom asked me, "Gerald will you go talk to your dad and convince him to get rid of the car?"
Well, i really wasn't crazy about getting into the middle of it all, but Mom had a point. So I took Dad aside and said,"Pops, why don't you sell the car?"
"I'll tell you why," he told me. "You know, i don't drive it much any more. In fact, i hardly drive it at all. I just want to know i have it here in case we've got to get away.
In case we've got to get away.
Understand, he was a bright man. He'd been living here in America for almost forty years. Nazi Germany and stormtroopers and the concentration camps and the loss of our family, it was almost a lifetime ago - or so I thought. And how wrong I was. It suddenly hit me; the scars of a holocaust are forever. Apparently, Dad never had a night where he didn't think it could all come back; he knew how fragile the character of civilisation was.