Sunday, November 2, 2008

Zombie Walkin'

I went to my first-ever zombie walk last night....sweet Lucifer, it was a grand time.

We started by gathering in Silver Spring's venerable Quarry House tavern. The organizers had no idea how many would be showing up, and it ended up being jam-packed with zombies. After a few burgers and beers, we started to lurch north on Georgia Avenue. We'd startle locals by clawing at windows of open businesses, and any cars that slowed to watch the mayhem got surrounded. At one point, an ambulance went by, and I started yelling "Rrrrr! Mmmmmeatwagon! RRRRRRRRM!" which led to zombies clawing after it.

A bit further down the road, we came upon a stopped bus, and proceeded to claw at the windows, moaning for meat. We probably scared the living shit out of the passengers and the driver was rather alarmed.

We proceeded through Silver Spring's commercial strip, Ellsworth Avenue, where we terrified teens and traumatized tots. (I'm sure some kids were having serious nightmares last night.) It was a warm night, so folks lingering late at the sidewalk tables were treated to the sight of the walking dead. A teenaged girl coming out of Cakelove was screaming and running for her life. A group of us stumbled into Borders and lurched around. A crowd exiting the local multiplex was menaced, and a few more teen girls ran screaming back in.

We lurched toward the AFI Silver Theatre, and along the way clawed at the windows of various fancy restaurants, terrifying the servers and amusing the patrons. Everything ended at the AFI, which was showing NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. Rrrrrm. It was quite an experience, watching it amidst a group of zombies.

I had a chat with a gal while waiting in line for a beer. She observed how liberating it was, and I had to agree. It was amazing fun, dressing up and getting in character and creating all sorts of mayhem. (Really, some of us did start to worry that we'd get arrested for some of the stuff we were pulling, like impeding traffic.) But it was refreshing to have an implicit license to act like a complete maniac, to take part in what I later described as "feral street theater." It made me realize why I enjoyed trick-or-treating so much as a kid...dressing up, running around after dark unsupervised, and acting wild. An evening of freedom from the usual social constraints is probably very healthy psychologically, and drives home the point that holidays like Halloween serve a greater purpose than simply a chance to sell decorations and candy. It's not just for kids, folks. If there's a zombie walk, or some similar thing going on in your neck of the woods, take part. You won't be sorry.

Staggering back to my car after it was all over, I was momentarily alarmed when a group of tough-looking fellows approached me, but all they wanted was my picture. They thought I was the coolest thing around.

This is me when I got back:

I had to take a long shower to get the makeup off, and tossed my filthy old jeans and a bloodstained wifebeater top in the trash. Oy, what a night, but kudos to the Quarry House and the AFI for handling this rowdy crowd with grace.

More photos can be found here and videos here.


Thomas Hardman said...

Yeah, it was awesome.

I was doing the typical uncoordinated zombie thing, fall down, stagger erect (well sorta erect) and lurch forwards.

Some overly "alla that" young black gals got all up in my face with this "think you mighta had enough to drink, fool?" and I said something like "look behind me. If you walk like them, they don't notice that you're still alive". They had just walked out of some store and hadn't looked both ways before crossing the street. I was in front of them, they dissed me as drunk, not knowing I was pretending to be the freshly risen dead.

Then they looked behind, to see a crowd of obvious zombies lurching along on my heels. At about that time they decided it might be better to be less of the hard asses and get on down the block.

I'm probably too old for this, but who needs dignity when you could have a good zombie lurch instead.

Springvale Roader said...

Nice make-up job, V. Sad to say, I didn't make the lurch. I practically killed myself setting up my yard for Halloween, to the point where I think I got the flu. Seriously -- at the k.d. lang concert 10/30, I was sitting in the audience wearing my winter coat and trying not to shiver to death. Still, it paid off: the trick or treaters went nuts over my decorations.

Next year, not only will I join the zombie lurch, but I'm willing to let y'all eviscerate me (after which I'll dutifully reanimate).

Vagrarian said...

I'll sharpen my teeth for you, Springvale!

I'm sorry we didn't get to chat at all, Thomas. Maybe we should all have a Silver Spring blogger get-together at the Quarry House or Mayorga or something, just so we can all meet and chat.