Right, I know what you’re thinking, how can anyone be bored in a zombie apocalypse? You know, all that running around, escaping by the skin of your teeth and smashing zombies in the head. Surely you’ll feel more alive than you’ve ever felt in your life, won’t you? Well, the thing is while you’ll have moments like that much of the time you’ll find yourself sitting around in your safe house, bored out your skull waiting for something, anything to happen, and if you don’t find a way to deal with this it’s going to drive you mad. Why do I think boredom will be a major factor you’ll need to overcome in a zombie apocalypse? It’s based on the old adage that war consists of long periods of tedium interspersed with moments of sheer terror, and a war against zombies will be no different.
Think about it, you’ve managed to get enough food together for a few weeks, or maybe even just a few days, you’ve found a secure location and you’ve barricaded yourself in: what do you do next? You can’t exactly play Angry Birds, or Google Brad Pitt to see what he’s been up to because you won’t have your iPad with you, or if you do the battery will have run out after the first few hours. Anyway, the web will have collapsed by then and Brad Pitt will probably be shambling along Hollywood boulevard looking for brains to snack on. You could chat with your fellow survivors, but it won’t be long before you’ve heard all their stories, and know all their jokes. You could read, but carrying books around it hardly going to be a high priority. Before you know it, you’ll be resorting to childhood games, like eye-spy – and there’s only so many times you can pick something beginning with Z without it becoming mind-numbingly repetitive.
The trouble with boredom is that once it sets in, humans stop thinking rationally. Once cabin fever kicks in, you’ll find yourself looking for any excuse to do something different. This is when you’ll start thinking about going outside just so you feel like you’re doing something. After all, bashing in the brains of a few zombies will make a nice change from staying inside and having the same arguments with your fellow survivors for the umpteenth time. All you need is one person to get so bored that they flip out and do something daft like open the door and go charging out into the zombie hordes waving a baseball bat, and your safe house will fall.
So how do you prevent boredom turning pathological? Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do other than be aware it’s a problem you’ll have to face. Probably the only strategy which has a chance of working, at least in the short term, is making plans. It doesn’t matter if the plans are realistic, or even if you’re ever going to carry them out, it’s the process that’s important. A bit of planning will at least leave you feeling like you’re doing something.
However, as the days … and weeks … and months … and years drag on, eventually boredom will get to you and an idea will suddenly pop into your head do something that if you were thinking rationally you’d realise wasn’t a good idea. But by then you’ll no longer be thinking rationally and you’ll do it anyway just to break the tedium – and that’s when you’ll end up dead. Maybe just before you get torn apart, a certain truth will dawn on you. What’s that true? Unlikely as it seems, boredom is as big a threat to your survival in a zombie apocalypse as the undead that lurk out there in the darkness.
From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.
To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.