Wednesday, September 15, 2010

State of our Union

Still no word from Patrick and the group that went out with him. It's not surprising, really, given how spotty and unpredictable cell coverage is, but it still sucks. None of us likes the thought of a large group of us going out with no way to contact home regularly, but we expected it given that they are heading in a direction none of us have been since society fell.

Work on the annexes is coming along quickly. We need to secure the neighborhoods next door with speed if we are going to get the folks from downtown into comfortable housing before it gets really cold. Frames for the walls are getting raised with good speed. We learned a lot from the mistakes we made while building the first wall, and of course we have a much bigger work force this time around.

One factor that seems to be helping a lot is the shift in weather. Kentucky is one of those places that doesn't seem to have a lot of intermediate stages in the seasons. One day it was crazy hot, and the next it was cold. Like thirty degrees colder at night and in the mornings. The zombies don't appear to like the cold very much, moving slowly if at all. Not a lot of attacks in the early parts of the day, just stragglers in ones and twos.

I have brought up the idea of increasing the number of sentries with the council. In the wake of the attack on Jess and the loss of our baby, it has become clear to me that we need to keep a closer eye for living people and not plan mostly for zombies. I know that the man  who did the shooting was a trained military operative, and that he might have made it in regardless, but I think (as do many of us) that more eyes on patrol will ultimately make us safer.

But like all of our decisions of late, this one is being held up with a lot of debate and discussion. The longer we operate without a central leader, the more clear it becomes that we need to elect someone to break tough votes and sort of act as our president. We have put it off and sort of forgotten about it since we have been doing pretty well without a leader, but with winter around the corner and lots of logistical concerns to be worked on and major decisions to be made, the slow decision making process we use now has to be fixed or forgotten.

I am spending two hours a day with about forty other people, learning what we can from Evans and Gabby about medicine. Right now we're doing anatomy and physiology for beginners, though I have a good working knowledge. I am mostly helping people new to the concept while getting a much needed refresher. Will and Roger are in the class as well, all of us very hopeful that we will be able to master the knowledge and skills needed to eventually become something like field doctors. Not quite real doctors or surgeons, but with enough knowledge to do a fair job diagnosing and repairing...

Aaron, our recent find from Lexington, has taken to his new post as our primary teacher with almost scary dedication. He holds classes from just after dawn until dusk, then stays up for hours engineering new ways to make people want to learn, writing lesson plans, and learning about what he is going to be teaching the next day. He seems to have become singularly focused on his work, but a few of us are really worried about him. He's friendly to a fault and always willing to talk if you approach him, but he doesn't socialize at all and looks sort of sad every time I see him.

I really hope we can get him to open up. He has some amazing ideas about education that ring true with some thoughts many of us have had, like teaching people what they want to learn instead of shoving a bunch of worthless errata at them with only traces of useful knowledge added in.

Listen to me. Worried about him because of how useful he might be, instead of worrying about him because it's just the right thing to do. Sometimes I read the things I have written and think about the empathy I once had for all people, and it makes me want to cry for the man I once was.

You lose enough, you hurt enough, and it wears away at you. I have to hope for the safety of all of those I love because I love them, and because if I lose much more it might just grind me down to nothing.

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