Monday, July 19, 2010


Another day, another trip out of town to bring in survivors from that big group I was telling you about. We're evacuating them at an increased rate now, because waves of zombies are starting to hit the place they are hiding in with the same sort of increase that we have seen at the compound. Dave, Patrick, Little David and Roger are with me, due to the increased need for vigilance at our destination, but for once I have little interest in talking about how badly the zombie plague and the violence of our everyday lives has fucked us up.

Today is all about human resilience.

I am sitting here writing in fits and bursts, while listening to Patrick and Roger talk about all sorts of things. The conversation started in the area of materials strength and properties of alloyed metals. This is mildly interesting to me, as I am curious about pretty much everything, but the really remarkable part is how the chat has evolved. Ever have one of those amazing, long conversations that meanders all over human interests? You sort of go from talking about Elton John to philosophy to the mechanics of wind turbines to...well, any random thing. I think most of us have, and I have had a bunch with Pat. I always get a sort of jittery satisfaction from knowing that another person and I have communicated ideas with open minds.

Thing is, since the fall, those types of talks have been few and far between. Since the massacre last week, they've been nonexistent. All of us have been quiet and terse to some degree or another, even the wordiest of us seemingly numb to the simple pleasures of intelligent conversation. I think that many of us have felt beaten down, and until I witnessed these two chattering like magpies, I had no idea how deep and wide the silence was.

It fills me with hope, it really does. We are made of strong stuff, and sometimes we can make our hearts so damn rigid that the next blow will shatter them. But people have that remarkable capacity to heal from nearly any pain--and the broken bits tend to soften and rejoin again, mending in ways both subtle and spectacular.

Words can mean anything or nothing. Words are such a simple concept to us, but they allow us the means to empathize with others, to share our burdens. Words let us reinforce each other, grow our understanding, and become closer. Words can wound, can destroy our hopes. Words can deceive and kill.

All of that and more, but most of all, to me at least, words fill the silence. The flow of pitches and tones that magically unify to create verbal communication are a bastion against the vast and lonely world we live in when there is no one to share it with.

I am still listening to them, and even though the conversation I hear isn't world-shaking, it is heartening. My best friend and a man that is becoming something like a best friend, getting to know each other. Growing in understanding. Empathizing.

Just talking.

We should all be thankful for chances to do something so normal.

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