Now that this sweltering summer is finally drawing to a close and I can just about breathe again without breaking a sweat, the time has come to reflect on what has changed, and what hasn’t. In my own immediate sphere, I’ve gained five kilos through titanic lethargy, overeating, and gluttonous beer intake. Summer is my season of despair, especially since I’m stuck here in Seoul, Korea, instead of hanging out on the beach back in the U. S. where I belong at this time of year.
Well-meaning loved ones might try to cajole me into getting more exercise, but it’s hard to budge your shiftless ass when you’re ridiculously depressed. Now that television’s Breaking Bad has gone into hibernation for nearly another year, my reasons to go on living have sufficiently dwindled to make suicide seductive, not that I could ever do such a silly thing, especially considering I don’t know how.
All this is by way of apologizing for being such a slug about writing lately. I hadn’t even realized that WordPress had changed its home page and log-in format. How do I look at Freshly Pressed items? Oh, I see it up there in the template. No worries, mate.
You may be wondering about the title of this entry, and with good reason. I’m not a great aficionado of either contemporary popular zombie culture or political conventions (feel free to alert me to the difference between the two if you have any idea what it is), and I doubt that a steady diet of human brains would help me tackle my burgeoning midriff.
My wife Jina, whom readers familiar with this blog already know–although not in the biblical sense–that’s God’s department (not to say it’s mine)–has been particularly challenging to live with this summer, as I’m sure I have been for her, even on those days when a less hardy human vessel than her would have thought it too hot and humid to fight. With temperatures ranging in the nineties and hundreds for the past two months, along with three typhoons in the space of a week, the weather’s been up to some remarkably nasty tricks lately; then again, I suppose we have only ourselves to blame for bringing on the karmic bitch-slap of climate change in the course of ushering in our own human-made era, the Anthropocene.
The zombies inspired by the title are neither me nor my wife, even though she likes to listen to fulminating Korean preachers in her sleep. You can learn a lot more about God by listening to the silence, the sound of the falling rain, a baby’s crying, crickets in the night, or even your own gurgling stomach or insomniacal farts than you can by ingesting the lies of some glib, well-heeled minister with oil in his veins through your earbuds, but what the hell.
No, the shuffling corpses alluded to are not even the preening politicians jockeying for position in my home country, vying for the highest office in the land, criminals and imbeciles rolled into one (call them crimbeciles). I refuse to give them any further attention, except to say that these days Barack Obama is reminding me increasingly of Breaking Bad‘s Walter White, with his uncanny ability to see himself as a knight in shining armor instead of the corporate-sponsored war criminal he is, and Mitt Romney is so out of touch with anyone who isn’t rolling in lucre, seeing him squirm is like watching Woody Allen’s human chameleon Zelig suffer a nervous breakdown in slow motion in front of billions of people all over the world–talk about traumatic.
The zombies in question are the myriad (mostly young) men and women I see every day in this city, which might want to change its name to Soulless, hunched over their teeny screens, their heads wedged in earbuds, lurching around in splendid isolation in full view of the atomized public. It’s tragedy in action, the disintegration of the commons, and it’s especially poignant to witness here in a country known for its strong family and communal ties. But it’s only good old capitalism and technology delivering the old death blow to any remaining social aspects of our global megaculture–nothing to get too upset about.
Tomorrow I’ll tell you about some of my fellow lunatics in greater detail, before being baptized in an hour of incomprehensible boredom at my wife’s insane asylum away from home, the local evangelical church, where Jesus is only in it for the money.