I love zombies. Like, a lot. That’s probably one of the first things you’d find out about me if we met. I usually introduce myself like “Hi. I’m Chan and I love zombies.” Cut to you, backing slowly out of the room and breaking into a run as soon as you clear the doorframe.
I wasn’t always such a zombie fanatic. I’ve forever been into the horror genre but it was the Mister’s love of zombies that really turned me on to the terrifying thrill of the coming undead apocalypse. You know how there’s a whole mess of Christians in the Midwest who are SURE that Jesus is coming sometime next May? Well I’m double that amount of sure that the zombie apocalypse is imminent and we all better get our shotguns and our game plans ready.
I like to fancy myself an undead expert and in the post-apocalyptic future I imagine I’d be all buff and shaved headed, leading a group of survivors through the deserted streets of our zombie ridden brave new world. I’d have a zexy armband and maybe I’d be a little dirty and bloodstained from combat, but in a hot zombie hunter way. I would know the ins and outs of our compound (did I mention we have a compound?) and I would easily be able to venture out into Zombieland (not the movie) and come back unscathed because I’d be hot like that.
Apparently in my head I’m GI Jane.
Here’s the reality.
1) Small insects make me panic. I might be able to take on a fresh zombie, but God forbid that undead sucker has maggots (MAGGOTS! EWW!) crawling on him, it’s all over for me. I would scream like a bitch and make the Mister kill it. That’s what Misters are for.
2) I get hopelessly lost less than a mile from my apartment. I have no sense of direction whatsoever. If I were ever allowed to wander alone I would inevitably walk in circles until I either starved to death or accumulated an unshakeable undead army on my tail and died a miserable wretched death probably 3 blocks from my intended destination. But it’s not even that tragic because I was never going to make it there anyway, that’s how lost I was.
3) There are morbidly obese people in better shape than me. But as long as the zombie apocalypse involves running at a moderate pace on an elliptical trainer for no more than 40 minutes at a time it should be no sweat.
All this to say if zombies really happen, I am EFFED.
The Mister and I are on a serious budget right now. We are attempting to erase some sins of the past and also to learn the value of a dollar. If you live in or near New York, the value of a dollar is approximately $0.14. The exchange rate is horrendous. This has translated into a real crackdown and re-evaluation of priorities in the Chan household.
This is putting a serious cramp in my style as I walk around the city drooling over the boots and bags and flats and stretchy pants I can’t have. I can’t have stretchy pants anyway even if I can afford them (see previous post re: English muffins, butter, and the eating of said deliciousness by me), but that is neither here nor there when I’m busy coveting. I EL to the O-V-E fall clothes and I know J.Crew is sending me all of these e-mails full of heather grey felted jackets and hounds tooth menswear hats and tall cognac leather boots because they know I’m not allowed to go shopping and they get off on taunting me.
Confession - I only own 1 pair of pants that is truly appropriate for work. I haven’t done any serious shopping in nigh on 2 years. Part of this is the money thing, but the rest is due to the fact that I gained a considerable amount of weight after I started my current job. It was a combination of quitting smoking and going from a fairly active lifestyle in a country where drunken bicycle riding was my main mode of transport to sitting at a desk or in a car or on my couch about 98% of the time that did it. Confession 2 - I’m an indoor girl. The amount of physical activity I engaged in when I lived in Japan was almost entirely of necessity. If it were up to me, I’d have a team of oiled men carrying me Cleopatra style from room to room. Could we *please* all step on the same foot at the same time!
So here I was with my ass parked in a cubicle all day and I found that my pants were suddenly squeezing a little bit. More than a little bit. Ok, where do you buy maternity pants because this is getting serious. And while the smart thing to do would have been to go to the gym and maybe cut back on the Chocolate Chip Frappuccinos, (mmmmm…) I instead went into an intense period of denial and started wearing exclusively empire waist dresses. Not my finest hour.
I eventually lost the weight I gained and more with the help of some grueling workouts, an approaching wedding, and the intense months of sleep deprivation associated with housebreaking a dog. I celebrated by donating or tossing all of my larger sized clothes and treating myself to a small summer shopping spree. The thing is, in my excitement I bought several pairs of capris and jeans in size “You’re joking, right?” That’s what it said on the tag. Although I think it’s some kind of trick tag because lately it looks more like it says “HA!”
So now here I am, Miss One-Pair-Of-Pants. I seem to have settled somewhere in the middle where my body is comfortable but like Alice I'm suddenly too big or too small for everything. It seems that the only time I actually fit into size "Yeah, right!" was 9th grade and that actual day when I did a little turn in the dressing room and made my husband tell me how awesome my ass looked.
When The Mister and I moved to Japan, one of the very first things we did, after exclaiming over the beer vending machines and accidentally buying a bottle of “Pocari Sweat” thinking it was water, was pony up ¥6000 (Around $60 bucks) to get us a pair of used bicycles. These were not fancy bicycles with things like “speeds” or “brakes” that “worked”. They were rusted and worn, they had functional baskets and the seats were made of some space age super-hard plastic that had the ability to reduce your butt to one giant callus. These were hard workin’ blue collar bikes that got you from A to B, and helped you get your groceries home.
Our first apartment was at the top of an enormous hill and it was always such a rush heading into town, rocketing down that hill at the speed of light with no way to stop except to sacrifice your body or be hit by a train. The freedom! The exhilaration! The abject fear!
One of the downsides of the impeccably orderly and on-time train system in Japan is that it only runs from 5am until about midnight. Generally you were forced to make a night of it if your evening was going to extend past the witching hour and you were further than walking distance from home. I was a bit of a party animal back then – staying up until 11, sometimes even 11:30! PM! Even with my wild ways, nights out were typically over well before the sun came up. There are only so many choruses of “Hungry Like the Wolf” a girl can stand before bedtime. Besides, staying up until 5am always required drinking until 5am if I intended to stay awake (separated entirely from my intention to stay ALIVE) and I had already had the experience of being on the early morning train as everyone is headed out to work while I’m trying not to vomit in a stranger’s briefcase. The bicycles changed all that. They opened up a whole new world of staying out moderately late. I know, I'm a rebel.
This is how I learned about the true Japanese National Pastime. Baseball? you ask. Pachinko? Selling strange things out of vending machines? Those are all great guesses but the answer is no, my friend. Let me introduce you to the sensation that’s sweeping the nation (of Japan, that is).
Drunken Bike Riding.
You heard it here first, folks.
Now I know plenty of people are going to tell you that this is Very Bad And Dangerous Behavior, but I’m here to tell you the truth. IT’S SO! MUCH! FUN! Look at the facts – drunkenness? Fun!! Bike Riding? Fun!! So by the transitive property or the pythagorean theorem or something, there is no way that this could be bad. And anyway, aside from the time I ran over that vagrant* no one ever got hurt. We did however pop wheelies, scream and shout, ride on each other’s pegs (Hi, I’m 11) and cause the kind of general mayhem that made me finally understand why the locals looked so fearful every time they were trapped in a subway car with one of us.
Were those some of my dumber escapades? Oh yes. But good lord were they fun. And as we all know (from experience – don’t lie) smart and fun don’t always live in the same place.