Zombies, Vampires, Vulcans, and Aliens — They May Be Make Believe, But We See Them Everyday

What is it with zombies already?

College Girl and her friends toss everything else aside, including homework, when The Walking Dead comes on, and they sprawl about chomping popcorn while grisly ashen, ratty tatty skinned Frankenstein things lurch on screen, making the same sounds little kids make when they’re playing cars.

Does she look like she's studying for her anatomy and physiology final? Emerald Dreams by Steve Henderson

Of course, college students would chuck homework for Barney the Purple Dinosaur or re-runs of Gilligan’s Island, both of which sound better than memorizing tendons and ligaments around the elbow, but they rhapsodize about imaginary ambulatory dead people.

“They’re so sexy!”

Hmmm.

Tired of Being Youngest’s generation swoons over vampires, more dead things, white instead of grey, emaciated and wan.

“You’ve got to see the Twilight movies, mom,” Tired insisted. “Robert Patterson is so hot!”

Personally I find vampires cold blooded, about as sexy as Vulcans.

This fascination with alien life forms is, well, alien to me, because I like human beings – real, ordinary, gregarious, open minded, regular, everyday people who don’t think they’re Donald Trump or that nasty British bloke on America’s Got Talent, but this week at an art festival we ran into a few undercover zombies – on the outside, they looked like humanoids, but inside, where the heart beats, they were dead people.

Not the ones who smiled, commented on the rain outside, asked a question about a painting, diffidently mentioned that they tried watercolors years ago but really weren’t very good – these people were alive.

Alive and well, active and moving, real people living real lives. Harbor Faire by Steve Henderson

The zombies avoided eye contact, grunted when we said hello, turned their backs to us, left the booth without a word, made us feel small and insignificant. And no, it’s not because they were shy.

“That person’s a collector,” our neighbor in the next booth murmured.

“That person’s rude,” I murmured back. The two qualities do not have to go together.

I see variations of this theme at the grocers, the box store, the office mart, the fast food joint – people whose living depends upon serving the needs of others frequently find themselves talking to zombies who don’t smile, don’t answer a greeting, fail to engage because they eschew trying.

College Girl remembers her stint as a grocery bagger, “the lowest life form on the planet,” she describes it, and the zombies who looked through her when she smiled at them and said hello. One woman stared at her for 10 seconds, then drew out her cell phone and began a call.

I’m not sure where these people are coming from. This is America, where we do not have royalty, not even the Kennedys, and we ordinary folk consider ourselves equal to our betters, because we all breathe through our noses and our mouths, crumple into little pieces when we’re hit head on by semi-trucks, love, laugh, choose soft toilet paper over scratchy, and exclaim something or other when we step on a plastic Lego block with our bare feet.

Color, depth, movement, grace, beauty -- the good things of life encompass much. Evening on the Willamette by Steve Henderson

There is something wrong, something dead inside, when we honestly think that, because of the car we drive, the way we pronounce “apricot,” the letters after our name, our antecedents, our political persuasion, IQ score, French manicured nails, or ability to down a neat whiskey without snorting that we are somehow inherently superior to another human being.

Reality is, one day we’ll all be dead, outside and in, and it will matter more how we lived than where, and as what.

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About This Woman Writes

Carolyn Henderson is the marketing manager of Steve Henderson Fine Art. In addition to her This Woman Writes blog, Carolyn writes a regular art column for FineArtNews, an online newsletter for artists and art collectors.
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6 Responses to Zombies, Vampires, Vulcans, and Aliens — They May Be Make Believe, But We See Them Everyday

  1. oldswimmer says:

    Good stuff, The comparison stuff is really poisonous, and if you think about it, it’s at the bottom of all our unhappiness. Started with that prideful angel, I believe…
    and I like that Willamette Evening painting a lot. It’s very moody and complex.
    Nice. Greetings from moody Hoodsport. Susan

    • Greetings, back, Susan: Steve enjoys reading maps at night, and his latest choice was the Puget Sound, Olympic Mountains, and Peninsula area — we found Hoodsport! It looks like a lovely area.

      That prideful angel is the source of much our sadness and woe, collectively as humans.

  2. Jana says:

    Sometimes I encounter zombies and feel compassion – “Oh, poor woman, she probably has a terrible marriage”. Other times I feel like shouting, “HEY! WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?!” Still others I just shrug and say something like “Meh”. And, I might have just possibly made a horrible face behind the back of one or two of those dreadful creatures. So there.

  3. Yes, I’m afraid that when they said “send me your tired, your poor,” etc, the jerks came too. Alas, sometimes they were raised by jerks, a family thing, but not always. Some of them are only out and about because their Twilight DVD wore out.
    For years now I’ve tried to make contact and greet people with friendliness. Sometimes it shocks their socks off, but no matter what, it’s like a pebble in the pond, the waves go out and they “do not come back void.” To miss quote a bit. There are Prada turkeys and there are Walmart turkeys, they can do nothing, Resistance is Futile! We just keep pouring in Love.

  4. Good attitude, Dianne — I will try to be as patient, long suffering, and kind as you are. I’m sure that some days, in some situations, I’ll be really good at this, and then there come those days when I’m tired, crabby, and not in the mood to be understanding!

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