Monday, May 30, 2011


This has been an eventful few days for me. I didn't post yesterday as is my habit, but believe me when I say that even if I had wanted to, there was little to no chance that I could have.

After I posted Saturday, I decided to spend a little time with Les. He's someone I don't think I've ever talked about, but is vitally important to the compound. He's this little short guy, skinny as a rail but stronger than he looks. Has this bushy mustache and thick brown hair that always looks nicely taken care of. Les is the guy who works on our cars and other vehicles on a full-time basis. He's the one who makes sure they are all in good working order. Given how few of them are used on a daily basis, he manages a maintenance schedule that would have been unreal in the old world.

I know a little bit about cars, but nowhere near what I would like to. I understand the basic functions of the systems and some specifics on how they work, but Les lets me sit in and watch sometimes to learn more. Some days, like Saturday, he lets me help.

Which was how, late Saturday evening, I was almost electrocuted and set on fire.

There's no thrilling tale of adventure here. Les was trying to repair a wiring harness inside one of our flex-fuel trucks and he asked me to help since I was already there and eager. I did, spending a few minutes holding the flashlight, then tracing wires. I helped make sure all the connections were secure. When he finally got finished, I was the one leaning over the engine compartment as Les tried to turn it over. my hands were resting on the edge right next to the battery. So, when one of the big wire clusters right next to me burst into flaming sparks just as the battery started spitting out sparks of its own, you can understand why I was a little freaked out. Six or seven more inches and I would have been seriously hurt. My leg is still on the bad side of healing, making my morning walks hellish at the least. I don't need any more injuries.

On top of that--this part is gross and personal, you might want to skip ahead. I'll wait.

OK, if you're reading this then you don't mind the potentially gross functions of the human body. Less than four hours after I was almost shocked and burned, I woke up around midnight with horrible stomach cramps. I scampered to the bathroom thinking I was about to have an episode of diarrhea, but I didn't. At least, not exactly. It was like I felt this immense pressure inside my guts, but could barely get anything out. I've taken everything I can think of, but almost a day and a half later I'm still getting these horrible cramps every ten to forty minutes. I still run, thinking I'm about to explode. Then virtually nothing.

On the one hand it sucks not being able to concentrate on any one thing for very long. Having to work with the knowledge that I will certainly have to run to the bathroom at least once in any given hour. On the other it's good that I'm not actually passing liquids, because even something as simple as diarrhea can be dangerous as hell in our current conditions. Your mom probably told you to drink plenty of water when you're stricken with it, right? Well, we're not short on good old h2o right now thanks to all the recent rains, but water safe to drink? We've got to boil it after we filter it. Most houses are set up with a basic system for filtration and retention, but the stock of drinkable water any of us keeps on hand isn't really all that large. We tend to do it in batches.

Of course in the event that someone does get sick, others will help by offering their water. It isn't much of a problem for healthy people to do the extra work to make up the difference, but that's why we're so lucky to live in a place like the compound. If it happened to someone who was living out alone or in the wild, they'd be forced to drink unboiled and unfiltered water. That's a recipe for getting even sicker, more dehydrated, and eventually very dead.

This weekend hasn't been a good one for me, but I recognize how lucky I am. I live somewhere wonderful, where people take care of each other. Where we have access to resources. The zombie plague has taken much from us, and these last few days have shown me just how subtle some of those changes have been. I'm really hoping to feel better soon. I hate feeling like a burden.

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