Sunday, March 15, 2015

Why I Relate to the Walking Dead

I was hooked on the AMC TV show "The Walking Dead" before I left for the AT. For everything else that's changed pre and post Trail, THAT has not changed. In fact, watching the new episode each week is one way that I continue to feel normal. For instance, remember when they were all scattered in the countryside, there was this one scene where a couple of them were fantasizing about what foods they missed - like hamburgers. I remember that too, deciding three days before getting into town what I was going to eat - and how much.

Now that the Walking Dead group has been welcomed into the new "town", they are all trying to get used to being back in civilization. Two recent episodes were like reliving coming home from the Trail. For those of you also addicted to the zombie apocalypse, but perhaps not as familiar with thru-hiking, let me explain the commonalities:

1. They all slept in the same room in the same house for the first few nights. That was like most hostels and shelters. That first night post-trail that I had to sleep alone... terrifying. 

2. When Carol and Carl scoped out the next door house to see if it was safe, Carol swiped a pile of papers from the desk. It wasn't stealing, but it was a different way of seeing "ownership". If it's not useful to someone else, but it is to you, then you can use it. Like in a hiker box. Or a dumpster. Or a lost and found. I was fussed at when I attempted to raid a lost and found upon getting home from the Trail. I did not consider it stealing; I was re-owning it (like re-cycling).

3. The group is invited to a welcome party. While there, Sasha freaks out a little bit when a town-person says that she's "worried about making a dinner she won't like." Sasha (along with others) just cannot fathom the seeming silly and superficial things that people are concerned about in society. We often call them "first world problems". When you've been more concerned about clean water, rationing food that won't spoil in hot weather, and duct-taping your shoes to get to the next town, some things just seem so trivial. I suppose in the Walking Dead world, even duct-taping your hiking shoes is fairly trivial, but I hope you are getting the parallelism.

4. At that same cocktail party, it was apparent that Rick's group were the outsiders, and they felt like they were on display. It was awkward for them to fit in. And they didn't. That's a familiar feeling. The same, but different - an outsider. Here I am at the same parties I used to go to before the Trail, and now, I'm an outsider.

And the most important thing that I related to in the recent episode:

Carol and Carl both said that being back in civilization was going to "make them weak." Yes, I have gotten weak. At least, that's how it feels. I find myself getting "worried" over superfluous things. I've lost my trail legs (and lungs). I'm a little nervous about getting "back out there" to another Trail, yet I really want to. I know I'm not weak, but... heck, I hyper-extended my knee... at church. At church!?! Not even a good story to go with it. 

So, I wait patiently until next Sunday to get my "walking (dead)" fix, and feel a little normal, to be in a world slightly more familiar.   

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