Monday, January 2, 2012

Idle Hands

The zombies continue to attack relentlessly, though their efforts are mostly in vain. The sheer buildings that make up Block are rugged and strong, and the spaces between them are well defended. There's not much chance that the undead will manage to get through those gaps, few as they are. Indeed, the only casualty from the ceaseless assault so far was a guy who fell from his perch atop one of the makeshift blockades in a narrow alleyway between the building I'm in and the one next door. He sprained his ankle in a bad landing, but is otherwise unhurt.

The advantage to being in a cluster of half a dozen buildings is that the points of weakness where zombies can attack at all are few. The disadvantage is that it makes attacking them in numbers virtually impossible. Sure, the people of Block can drop things on the zombies from the tops of the buildings or open the third floor windows to shoot, but both of those options aren't really optimal for large-scale annihilation of the enemy.

So, we just deal with the constant noise of them moving around outside, stopping to beat on the doors when they get to them and smell the tasty humans within.

It's almost funny how well the defenses here parallel my thoughts on something I said the other day. I mentioned in my last post that the team and I had been through so much combat (as have most survivors) that we'd sort of learned to deal with the emotional trauma we've been hit with over time. That's still true, I think, but looking at the defenses here and thinking about my own reactions since my injury have given me a bit of perspective about myself and others.

See, this place is highly defensible. It has high walls and barred windows that zombies just can't damage. That's a lot like the mind and spirit of your average survivor. We've all had to build up emotional calluses to the death and destruction of The Fall and the ensuing months (almost years now that I think about it). It's not that the struggle and pain haven't taken their toll, but we've had to deal with other things during all this time. It's hard to focus on how awful things are when you have to work to grow food, to hunt, to bring in water during dry spells. The more I think about it, the more I realize that the people who settled this country weren't that much tougher than we are--they were just too damn busy to give in to despair. After a long enough time with pressure and stress, you mold to it. You learn to cope.

Yeah, it's probably not all that healthy, but it's that or death.

The other part of the comparison is where the trouble is. Much like Block, we've all got weak points. There are spaces between the hard parts of our minds. I can deal with death, losing friends and loved ones and even strangers in high regard. I can deal with being away from home and my wife, my pets, my comfortable bed and having heat that doesn't require me to huddle next to a fire in the snow.

Being useless, though, that fucks me up. Even as I write this I can feel the end of the post approaching and I know once again I'll be sitting here trying to figure out a way to accomplish something. Anything. I also have a problem with others acting to protect me. I can't deal with that. I feel like I have to be the one to stand on the front line.

You see, we've channeled our damage into useful energy, but we're still fragile in many ways. It's a strange feeling to analyze my own psyche, and it's probably not as accurate as it could be. I do feel the need to admit that at I'm probably more damaged than I realize. Toughness is a virtue in a world of the dead, but being blind to your own weaknesses can be fatal. Not just for yourself, but for those in your care.

We're all flawed creations, and only by recognizing those flaws can we begin to repair them.

I'm almost out of my mind with nervous energy. I feel the urge to do stupid things. I think I'm gonna go find someone to talk to, maybe that will help.

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