Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mom never warned me about zombies

Ah. Modern times. Or are they Post Modern? We're probably beyond all that at this point. Ah, yes, I checked with Wikipedia. We're staring directly into the face of Hypermodernity.

I'm sure there's an App to figure it all out, but one thing seems clear: History, always repeating itself, seems to have recorded some new tracks as it careens at break-neck speed down the high-speed internet.

 Of course we're often wrong about such things. History runs in some strange and asymmetrical loop that can only be figured out by scholars or small children. Certainly not mothers, whose conversations with scholars and small children haven't changed since humanoids first started painting on cave walls.

Until now.

Let me set the scene:

It's the morning commute on a gray, rain-threatening day. The landscape, still crisp with fall colors though it has been spring for some time, rolls past our windows at 45 miles-per-hour. The boy is in his car seat talking non-stop about the things he sees - asking and often answering his own questions. The mother is only half listening.

"Ders a guy with wandry. Where's he going? Maybe to da wandrymat."

"Can we go the wong way? I yike the wong way. It's faster than the short way."

She wonders if she and her mother ever had conversations like this.

"The long way it is."

They drive past school buildings and playgrounds. Past apple orchards and cattle ranches. Past miles and miles of fields.

"Is that a farm?" He asks as they drive past acres of wide open land.

"Yes. That's a farm," she answer absently, momentarily wondering to herself if there will be a train at the crossing up ahead.

"What do they grow there?"

"Oh, I don't know," she says, trying to focus a little more on his conversation. "It's a pretty big field. It could be hay or corn, or something like that."

"Don't they grow zombies there? I bet they grow zombies there."

She starts to laugh. She and her mom never had this conversation, that's for sure. Her childhood nestled safely in an era before smart phone apps provided a crystal clear windows into the agricultural practices of the undead.

"That's just a computer game," she answers. "There's no such thing as zombies."

"Well ... I think it would be fun if they did grow zombies. Because if they grew zombies I could keep one for a pet."

"If zombies were real," she tells him (as if this is the most natural conversation in the world to be having with a three-year-old) you most definitely would NOT want one for a pet."

"I would. too. I would keep him in a cage and feed him every day. I would be a good zombie owner!"

"What would you feed him?"

"I don't know ... maybe Zombie Food. It costs five dollars and you can buy it at the store."

"I don't know how to break it to you bud, but zombies - which are not real anyway so don't go chasing nightmares - eat human brains. And that makes it completely unsafe to own a zombie."

"Well ... If I had a zombie I would train him not to eat human brains. That's what I would do."

 She excitedly thinkis of how this moment will look stretched out over the walls of her Facebook page. She can picture the primitive drawings she might use as illustration. And then she realizes history may be on repeat after all. Caves have just gone viral.


Scott said...

That's delightful! I wish to God we adults could hold on to that childhood imagination, but we sacrifice it as we learn about the "real" world--what a paradox!

Toyfoto said...

I'm not sure I ever had much of an imagination. For me it's the enthusiasm for the potentially impossible that I miss.