Stay Safe. Watch Out for Zombies.

To avoid the zombies, it is important that you stay inside and stay away from other people. It’s spread from close distances, so stay at least six feet away, from strangers, from friends, from family you don’t live with. Wash your hands; zombies hate clean hands. Plan ahead.

Two weeks ago, I was anxious about a lot of things. I was just returning to work after maternity leave, and taking on new work responsibilities while also trying to figure out schedules and how to feed my baby. I was so stressed I broke into hives the second day.

I’m not stressed about those things anymore.

Or rather, I am, but that damned coronavirus has made me and everyone else reevaluate our fears. Now I’m afraid to go out. I’m afraid of the economic consequences of not going out, both for my family and the community as a whole. I’m afraid for my parents. I’m afraid for my baby, who is so small, who must be protected.

I feel guilty, because at first, when my daycare was closed for a week because of the pandemic, I was happy. It meant one more week of my baby not being away from the family. One more week we could watch for his first laugh, one more week to help him grow strong. One more week until I had to pick up that anxiety again.

Now it’s been closed for two, and will be closed for at least two more. Now the virus feels like it is swarming my life. Now I feel afraid almost all the time. It’s not some far-off possible fear; it’s pounding at the glass doors of the grocery store.

I’m having trouble reckoning with the virus. It’s invisible, it could be anywhere, and there is nothing I personally can do to fight it. So, recently, I’ve been worrying about zombies.

Zombies are a nice, healthy, irrational fear. Everyone knows they aren’t real. But they are visible, so you’ll know if you see one. They are something you can wrestle with, fight off, but it’s better if you can just avoid them. If your friend is a zombie, you know what to do. Everyone can be heroic in a zombie movie. And most of them end with hope.

It works out that many of the rules for zombies are the same as for an invisible, highly transmittable virus, but zombies are laughable to be afraid of, making them a nice bite-sized fear.

Stay safe out there. Watch out for zombies.

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