Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Alive and Well

[This is a post by Treesong.]

Since Patrick and Josh have written about my recent injury, I thought I'd take this opportunity to let everyone know that I'm alive and well, or at least as well as I can be after being shot within a few inches of my femoral artery. I know enough about anatomy to know how lucky I am to be alive today. Also, since I'm not able to do any manual labor at the moment, I may as well write about recent events.

First of all, thank you Patrick for getting me out of harm's way. I think their goal was just to scare us off with a minimum of gunfire, but who knows what may have happened if I'd been left there alone and wounded. I knew you'd have my back, though -- and sure enough, you did. Also, thank you to our good Doctor for mending my wounds and keeping me alive.

They shot me first, and I don't think that was a coincidence given their attitude toward people who believe differently than they do.

On the one hand, John Hastings and a few of his followers seem especially fond of having protracted political and theological discussions with me. They probably do this in the hopes of either converting me or showing others in the Compound the errors of my ways. Given the amount of discussion I've had with them, and the fact that most people around here don't have the patience for long-winded philosophical conversations in the midst of a Zombie Apocalypse, I feel like I've actually ended up with a closer bond to some of them than the rest of the people who live here.

On the other hand, when the chips are down, they see me as The Enemy, along with anyone else who doesn't fit their strict religious beliefs. If we're in a community meeting together, we can discuss and debate rationally with each other, and sometimes we can make progress. But when tempers flare, and people start grabbing their guns, I'm little different from the Zombies to them. In fact, now that he's an exile, Hastings is openly advancing a hateful philosophy which insists that the Zombie Apocalypse was brought about by "sinners" -- which basically includes anyone who disagrees with him on matters of theology and politics.

I hated to send those kids into exile along with their parents. Even though they were swayed by a charismatic leader, the adults had earned their fate. But the kids were too young to really understand what was going on. All they knew is that we were asking them whether they wanted to live with their parents or not, so they chose to live with their parents, even though it meant exile. We gave them enough supplies for a couple of weeks, though, which is good. And though the adults among them may be hateful toward outsiders, they're fiercely protective of their children, so I have high hopes that the children will be fed and sheltered as long as possible, and hopefully survive all this.

It was really good to see Courtney again after the convoy returned. Given the uncertainties of her trip and my close brush with death, you have no idea how happy I was to see her smiling face again. It was good to see Josh, too, and everyone else who left -- but I've known Courtney the longest and the best, and we had plenty to talk about after our respective brushes with death and diplomatic weirdness.

I've been joking with Courtney that she must be a better diplomat than me. She came back from her negotiations with a suped-up bus and a tentative trade deal, whereas I came back from my negotiations with an ounce of lead in my hip.

Oh well. Better luck next time, eh?

On a personal note, I find a certain cosmic irony in the fact that I've been wounded at this particular point in my life. Given the hard labor involved in running the Compound and fighting off the hoards beyond the gates, I was just starting to achieve my lifelong dream of becoming an accomplished athlete. I've struggled with health and fitness all my adult life, and I was a "nine stone weakling" when the Zombie Apocalypse hit. But I was really starting to impress everyone with my growing athletic abilities. And now, I'm back to Square One, barely even able to stand up and walk across the room. Evans says the bullet only barely nicked the bone, and that I should be fine given time to heal. Still, though, it's frustrating to be set back weeks or months by a single act of senseless violence.

On the bright side, I have a lovely and talented field medic who has volunteered to help me through my recovery. Her name is Bridget, and she's one of the survivors from Carbondale who I've been spending a growing amount of time with lately. Courtney likes to tease me about the fact that I've struck up a budding romance with someone who shares a name with my matron deity, the Irish Goddess Brighid. And I like to tease Courtney back by saying that she's just jealous, and that I would love Bridget even if her name was Ralph.

It's good to find new love even in the midst of all of this horror, and good to be able to joke with old friends even when our situation is dead serious. ESPECIALLY when our situation is dead serious, come to think of it.

Thank you, Bridget, for finding me in the midst of all this madness. And thank you Courtney for always being there for me. And thank you Rich and Paula, and Chris Klarer, and James, and Dan, for all of your contributions to the serious work of trying to figure out how to run a community humanely and justly in the midst of what we've all agreed can fairly be called an apocalypse. We've had our own heated debates at times, but I'm glad we were all able to make it out of Carbondale together, and glad we've been able to contribute in our own diverse ways to the Compound's efforts to get organized.

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