The other day I was at the station waiting for the train into the city. As I was sitting on the bench, a thought ran through my mind and I haven’t been able to shake it. What if a zombie appeared and began attacking those waiting on the platform? What would I do? Where would I go? After all, I don’t think about these things every Monday Mayhem. Wait. Maybe I do.
Then I remembered a scene out of the movie The Bourne Identity where the main character Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is sitting in a restaurant and while he’s talking with someone, he is scanning his surroundings. He is accessing the people, the objects at his disposal and formulating an exit strategy—all within a matter of seconds.
It got me thinking. If there ever were a zombie attack, would I be ready?
Subsequent to thinking about this, I began a little exercise to see if I could actually accomplish doing what Bourne did, which was to assess my environment, catalog people and objects, and plan a quick exit.
Believe me—the exercise is much harder than it sounds.
The first time I did it, I failed miserably. I couldn’t keep track of the comings and goings of people because too many things changed within a minute, and I didn’t realize the amount of things I had to take into account to remember. Then again, it didn’t help that I tried this walking through a department store.
My next attempt was in a much more controlled environment. I’d chosen our town’s library. This time around, I did a bit better. I was able to memorize the exits, track people’s movements and keep a running tally of objects I could use in case of a zombie attack. I actually saw a letter opener on someone’s desk behind checkout that would come in handy for such an occasion.
A donut shop became my next assignment. I was feeling like a secret agent already!
As soon as I walked in, I committed the exits to memory. As opposed to remembering those working behind the counter, I counted them. Uniforms are far easier to remember than plain clothes. I also took separate counts of people standing up, such as waiting in line, and those sitting at the booths. As one would get up from their table, I subtracted one from those sitting at the booths and added it to those standing up. Obviously, I couldn’t stare at the people my whole time, so I looked for reflections where I could, using those as prompts for maintaining the count.
The other thing I found I was doing was that unlike the library exercise, where I was looking for specific weapons (eg. scissors, rulers, pencils, etc.), I now simply took an inventory of items on the counter and around the shop. This allowed me the freedom to know what my inventory would be in case the zombies came at me from all directions.
I know. I’m weird. But I had fun doing it in spite of the fact I had to commit so much to memory. One thing’s for sure—Plan B has become more real to me should a zombie attack actually take place.
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RANGER MARTIN AND THE SEARCH FOR PARADISE, on sale October 20.
Have you thought about inventorying your surroundings? What is your Plan B?