I took an noontime train to London yesterday to visit my dear friend Jeff who happens to be visiting the city for a few days (he’s blowin’ it up in NYC, mind you, so keep an eye out for his awesome work). We had a gloriously gluttonous day in the city, starting with lunch at Dishoom and ending with drinks and dinner at Wahaca (aka Yumzville!). As the clock was nearing midnight (okay, really it was 10:35), I raced to the train station to board my chariot home only to find that every single train was cancelled (insert panic-face here). Supposedly, as I was busy wining and dining, there had been a torrential downpour that flooded railway lines to my Hobbit Town, Tunbridge Wells. The loudspeaker (aka quietspeaker) cackled to life and someone mumbled something into it that left people groaning. My sleepy heart sank. What is a lady to do?!
The answer is this: Find someone who is going to the same destination and follow them. In a moment of desperation, I put on my best American accent and asked if anyone was going in my direction and then latched onto two panicky old ladies who were pushy and panicked enough to get answers out of the one* National Rail employee on staff, who told us to jump on the next train to London Bridge where we’d be bussed, shipped, helicoptered and submarined home at some point**. I looked at my old lady companions and said, “Girls, I’m with you.”
On the train to London Bridge we took inventory- whose phone still had enough battery power to last through the night, where each of us were going, etc. When I announced my final destination, a girl who’d been quietly lurking behind me looked up from her phone and said, “I’m following you***.”
And this, my friends, is how we will come to survive the zombie apocalypse. I’ve always been skeptical of movies about the end of the world in which a group of strangers join together against all odds in the name of survival. Together they run through abandoned subway tunnels, sleep in deserted homes (where one of them inevitably does something stupid like light a candle or put on a record which draws all the zombies to them within seconds, as if zombies are actually observant… whatever), and contemplate the v. important question of, if we were the only two people left to repopulate the entire world, could we find it in ourselves to procreate? People in these movies are always attractive with straight, white teeth and the ability to run for miles to evade danger, and the answer is always yes. Yes, they will fall in love in that gross urban hideout and they will build a better world together. (Assuming they kill (rekill?) all the zombies, of course.)
Last night, I learned these same partnerships also happen in real life when a group of people are faced with imminent doom. Whilst helplessly staring at the monitors at London Bridge, BECAUSE THERE WAS NOBODY THERE TO HELP US!, my new friend and I developed a tall, sandwich-eating shadow and before I knew it our small two-some had turned into three. As we hopped from train to parking lot, to train, to bus, to home, the three of us had swapped stories, shared complaints, and talked a lot about the Olympics. We had become survival friends! At 1:30 the bus stopped across the street from my house and, in a moment of panic, I shot out of my seat, quickly waved goodbye, and RAN my ass home to take a shower and snuggle in bed with the Redcoat. There’s nothing like a natural disaster to make you appreciate a clean towel, a soft mattress, and the arms of someone you love wrapped tightly around you. Even if it is a super minor natural disaster that was actually more fun than cumbersome and made you feel like a navigation pro for making it home in the end.
Zanna and Jaime, if you’re reading this, it was an absolute pleasure to share the worst commute ever with you! Perhaps we’ll run into each other in town one day, or maybe we won’t. I’m sorry I made you play the What are you thankful for? game (my optimism never dies!) and I’m sorry you both had to wake up earlier than I did this morning.
*UNO, EIN, ICHI, people, ONE! Where did this country learn their customer service?!
**He didn’t really say that, but, like, basically he did. It was the most convoluted action plan I’ve ever heard of but it sure as hell beat the possibility of having to crash on someone’s couch with unbrushed teeth and feet that smell like water-logged leather. Ewz!
***Uh, gooooooood luuuuuucccck! (Note, when you’re stranded somewhere, it’s generally not the best idea to find the sole foreigner in the group and decide to follow them. Like, I can be really assertive in moments of crisis but I. do. not. know. where. I. am. going! Even when there isn’t a crisis, this is true.)