My girlfriend got an iPhone. Before this, she never owned an iPod and only occasionally listened to music on the go. Now she’s got those standard white earplugs in all the time, hiding behind her long hair. She’s got that dazed, “I’m only sorta paying attention to the world around me” look that plasters itself onto the faces of iPod users. One spittle of drool, one garbled moan, on a cold, pale day, and I’d swear she was a zombie.
My girlfriend doesn’t understand why I get angry when I’m talking to her because I don’t see the white earbuds under her hair. I don’t understand why she gets angry when I pull the earphones out so she can hear me. She uses it in the car. She uses it when we walk. She uses it when we’re out with friends.
I think I hate my girlfriend.
But then, maybe it’s my fault. I don’t have an iPhone or an iPod. Everyone else does, and they act the same as her. I ask them for directions, and they fly by me. I trip over them in the street; they walk aimlessly, twitching to some unheard tune. Sometimes they hum or mumble indiscernable lyrics.
In Max Brooks‘ zombie classic World War Z, readers get a well thought out oral history of humanity’s fictional war with a zombie pandemic. He accounts for seemingly every way to handle it, from all viewpoints. The people who fight and survive; the people who are weak and die. The men who love their wives too much to kill them when they’ve been bitten. The gluttonous rich who bunker down in fortresses of hedonism and wait for the cavalry – or the world to end. But he never accounts for the people who are just so overwhelmed by the the numbers of the “other” that they decide to walk towards the zombie masses, and join them. It’s nice to be on the winning team, after all.
So, yes, maybe I should get an iPod. They make me angry, but maybe I should join them. Maybe I should forego human interaction, and turn in my years of poorly cultivated social skills for the gizmo. Maybe I should join the many…
… or not. I’d totally shoot my girlfriend in the face if she were bitten by a zombie.