Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Break It Down

Human beings are incredible creatures. Look at the history of our species, and you'll see more variety than you can comprehend. Or, at least I do when I think about us.

We're capable of terrible atrocity. We kill for land, religion, food, water. We kill for skin color and, sometimes, for no reason at all. The interesting thing to me is our capacity for cooperation and harmony held against our violence tendencies in as stark a contrast as I can think of.

I just got back from a short run to the lumberyard we've been getting supplies from. I got up at about two this morning to take a shift leading a group to transport from it. Jack has decided that it would be best for us to gather those supplies here and store them for when the heavy work on the hydroponics bay starts. Yes, I called it the hydroponics bay. Enough of the people here are nerds like me and fans of Star Trek that the name was suggested and stuck in record time.

What brought on this sense of amazement is the flurry of activity I see over the screen of my laptop. I'm sitting just inside the door of the factory we're going to be using for the hydroponic food, watching between paragraphs as more than two hundred people scurry and work. Men and women are taking apart the remaining machines with almost robotic speed and precision--these are folks that have a lot of experience working on industrial equipment. They are handing off parts to waiting gophers who pass them on. Nothing is wasted, every nut and bolt saved for possible use later on, even if it's just melted down for the metal.

Lines of people are passing pieces down to the doors where teams are loading them into trucks and hauling them to the main building of Jack's compound. Others are working on measuring the roof for cuts to be made later on to add in more skylights. Yet others are taking measurements to determine just how much pipe and hose will be needed to convert the sprinkler system into an irrigation system for the plants.

It's pretty awesome to behold. If the work continues at this rate, they will have the place empty in a few days, a week at the outside. The only thing slowing us down is the long corridor of open land between Jack's and here. The zombies in this area have been fairly quiet lately, but crowds of them as large as a dozen still drift right through the little road that connects the two factories a few times an hour. The guards that accompany each truck between the two places have to stop, clear them out, and make sure they are really, super dead.

There's talk of bringing in every roll of chain link fence we can find, and anything that can be used as a fencepost. I mentioned yesterday that it's about a quarter mile between the two, and that's a hell of a distance to cover with fence. Jess and I are going back out today on a long scouting trip to look for as much fencing as we can find, because what there is at the lumberyard isn't going to be anywhere near enough. Not to mention that we'll have to find chain link that's tall enough to keep zombies out, which most residential fencing just isn't.

We'll figure something out. This is Michigan, after all, and you can't throw a rock in any direction without hitting a building that manufactured or stored something in industrial quantities. There is a solution, we just have to find it. Not that we're in a great hurry or anything, because it's still about four degrees here. The ground is way too hard to dig holes in for fence posts.

Wow, I really didn't expect to write that much about fences and such. I just get excited about seeing people come together to do something truly helpful for their community. Seeing people come up with ingenious solutions to their problems gives my heart a little boost. Being a part of it makes me proud.

I'm off to catch a nap before Jess and I go out with our team. I'm happy to report that Courtney and Steve will be going with us, since both of them know the immediate area very well. Hopefully we'll find something useful, but at worst we will know where not to look next time, and be more efficient.

The wind chill is so bad that even the cold resistant zombies (which seems to be almost all of them around here, now) are taking it slow. Which is good. I don't feel like fighting today.

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