I’ve been playing a game with myself for years. At night, or whenever really, when I walk my dog and I’m all alone, I pretend that there has been a zombie appocalypse. Everyone is either normal or an infected zombie. In my game, the rules are simple. Stay as far away from the zombies as you can. They are slow moving, half blind, and shuffle along. But if they catch you, you’re dead. Since I’m insomniac, I’ll often walk my dog at 2 or 3 in the morning. Everything is quiet. No traffic. The trains haven’t started running.

It starts when I leave the apartment. I step out in the hall and look both ways. If it’s empty, I pull Auguste out and lock the door behind me. Then I head for the elevator. Zombies are not savvy enough to take elevators but they may push buttons by mistake. When the door opens, I hang back, ready to dodge and run. (Auguste sniffs around and looks at himself in the mirror).

In the downstairs hallway there is the corner to navigate, then it’s outside – passing through the entrance, which has codes, so I’m safe (zombies don’t do codes). Auguste is in a hurry by now and pulls me along. I keep an eye out for zombies lurking in the garden.

Out in the street it’s a quick glance to see if the coast is clear. We dash towards the far side of the street, so Auguste can finally pee. I let him try to pee on car tires. So sue me. He’s too short to reach the tire anyhow – and then it’s the scary walk to the “doggy poopy place”. All people must be avoided. You must switch sidewalks if someone is headed your way. Look in between cars where zombies can hide. Keep looking behind you. (Auguste ignores everything and concentrates on the wonderful smells left by all his pals – he concentrates on the doggy social pages while I keep an eye out for zombies.) And then it’s back home again.

Well, now I’m playing the game for real. Not that anyone has been turned into a zombie, but the idea is to stay as far away from everyone as you can. So I happily switch sidewalks, stand meters away from everyoone at the bakery, and I don’t go out anymore…but today I had to go shopping. I have a mask, I have gloves. I have a shoppig list. I have my shopping trolley. I go to the store at noon, and it’s nearly empty. And here is where it gets almost funny. Everyone avoids everyone else, we turn our backs to each other when we pass in the aisles. We nod, murmer “Excuse me,” and grab what we want and head to the checkout counters. I packed up, paid, and left. Everyone stood behind the lines that were taped on the floor. No one got close to me and breathed on me. I was in introvert heaven. Finally – some personal space. The town drunks were still sitting on their curb, but even they seemed to be sitting further apart than usual, and they weren’t sharing a bottle – this time, everyone had their own bottle.

NOTE: my grocery store was fully stocked. No one took huge carts full of anything; there was everything I needed on my list – and the only thing missing were eggs, but there will be a shipment tomorrow. 

Dinner was homemade flat bread, pasta with shrimp, and avocados. Lots of garlic. If there are vampires, I’ll be ready too.

Virus hack: pretend everyone else is a zombie,  and that the zombies have slime so you have to avoid touching anything they have touched.