Zombies and our ‘rainbow of chaos’


By Sarah Allen - [email protected]



How long did it take to get to October?

The logical answer? About 39 weeks, or 273 days, ago. (Thank you, Internet).

Thirty-nine weeks … 273 days …

In that time, winter has turned into spring, spring into summer, and now summer into fall. We’ve celebrated the last days of school, and prepared for the first days. We’ve relished those precious, once-in-a-lifetime moments and bemoaned those daily chores.

And, this time next year, we will have done all of that again – just as we did the years before, and just as we will for the foreseeable future.

It’s the truth – whether it’s a rut or a comfort, I suppose, is up to each person. Most of the time, I think it’s a bit of both.

But, as monotonous as our world can be, it’s also fueled by change. I’ve written before that the only constant in life is inconsistency. But, true too, is that the world will inevitably fall into patterns.

Talk about a contradiction.

But who said life was supposed to make sense?

Perhaps French artist Paul Cezanne had the world figured out when he said: “We live in a rainbow of chaos.”

And October might, perhaps, be the best time to witness that chaotic rainbow.

Dying leaves give us picturesque settings. Bright days with cloudless skies have surprising chills in the air. Friends and neighbors hide behind gruesome masks.

Nothing is ever as it seems in October.

And, perhaps, that’s why I love the month as much as I do. Between the changing weather and the Halloween monsters, it’s a month that is primed for the unexpected.

That was especially true one night when I was a senior in college.

You see, Wilmington College’s Activities Programming Board (APB), had organized a Zombie Tag activity.

If I remember correctly, the weather that year had been fairly mild – until, of course, that night. Then it was dank and rainy, with mud squishing beneath your shoes if you dared to venture from the sidewalks.

Normally, I would not have been one to sign up for something like Zombie Tag. But, during my senior year I was considerably more adventurous. So, I signed up because … October, zombies … why not?

I went with a friend who was a member of APB, so naturally he was a zombie.

While he was getting ready, I waited with the other humans. In retrospect, I’m sure I looked very much the part of the rookie. While there were several who wore casual, but warm clothes, there were others who were dressed more … resourcefully.

In particular, a guy named Timmy. He’d come wearing camouflaged cargo pants, a black hoodie, and dark green face paint.

Needless to say, I felt slightly out of place in my very bright, very yellow windbreaker.

Once the zombies were ready, the rules were explained: red bandanas equaled humans. And, like in tag football, the bandanas were worn so they could be easily grabbed by the opposing – or in this case undead – team. Once you lost the bandana, you became a zombie.

I can’t remember precisely how this rule went, but basically the zombies could jog. There were parameters, but they didn’t have to creep slowly like in “Night of the Living Dead.”

Now, I can be a bit competitive … OK, a lot competitive. And, between my zombie-fied friend eyeballing me in mock threat and Timmy’s Rambo-style outfit, I couldn’t help but resolve, Yeah, I’m going to win this thing.

Unfortunately, that determination was short-lived. I was cornered by two zombies while sneaking behind some bushes.

But, really, being a zombie wasn’t so bad. In many ways, it was more fun to chase than to hide.

And it wasn’t long until we’d cornered a group on the mall. Among them was, you guessed it, Timmy.

Now, I stand at a whopping 4-11. I’m not athletic. And I’m so quiet that I was once asked if I was a mime.

But none of that stopped me from racing after Timmy, heart pounding, and pulling that bandana from his pocket.

I will never forget the look on his face, or the way I shouted, “I got Timmy!” and my friend rushed up and hi-fived me.

So, yes, are there patterns and ruts in life? Of course. The Monday after Zombie Tag, for instance, life returned to normal with classes, homework, and part-time jobs.

But life is also so much more, with the unexpected tucked away here and there – much like the “ghouls” in the many haunted trails this time of year.

It might be chaos, sure, with so much routine and surprise crammed into our short time here on Earth. But I really think Cezanne was right when he describe the end result as a rainbow.

Reach Sarah Allen at 937-393-3456, ext. 1680, or on Twitter @SarahAllenHTG.

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By Sarah Allen

[email protected]

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