A Profound Look Back at the Week: October 11-17

A week of clouds, rain, chill, and leaves turning red, yellow and everything in between. Peak autumn. Not so peak happy me because life keeps interfering but that’s its job, isn’t it?

Nothing much but traffic jams

It’s always great when there isn’t much happening because it usually means there’s nothing unpleasant/annoying/outrageous happening. Of course, it also means nothing amazing is happening but I’m fine with that. At this point of this year I’d rather have nothing at all than lots of unpleasant followed by lots of amazing.

Traffic jams were the highlight of my week in the past seven days possibly because they were worse than last week’s but there was one that could make the basis for a horror story. Or at least a supernatural one. I might call it the Traffic Light Mystery.

Now imagine a long, wide, straight street. There’s a traffic light at the start. There’s another traffic light about half a mile later. The flow of traffic is relatively even at 8 am and the green at both lights is quite long enough for everyone to pass smoothly through both intersections. You pass the first lights and cheerfully continue towards the second one. As you approach, you see cars slowing down. The light is green. It has been green since you saw the intersection in the distance. Still, the cars are slowing down. You need to slow down, too. You need to stop. The light is still green. A moment later the queue starts moving. The light turns red.

Every day for two weeks I’ve witnessed this mystery and I’m nowhere closer to solving it than I was two weeks ago. It’s not the usual case of first driver falling asleep at the wheel under the green light. It’s certainly not a jam that begins after the traffic lights. It’s simply a lot of cars slowing down at the lights even when it’s green, causing the cars coming after them to slow down, too, until eventually they need to stop until the intersection clears. I suspect it’s some sort of a ritual. A sinister one.

Zombie wars

It hit me the other day. We live in the era of zombie wars only, as usual, they are not how we expected them to be — the zombies or the wars. We have become addicted to distinguishing ourselves from others based on a good-evil axis with apparently magnetic extremes. I can’t explain the growing tendency for extreme views among people in any other way.

This attraction has combined with the excessive flood of information we have got used to consuming on a daily basis without an ounce of doubt it may not reflect true events to make a zombification cake of magnificent proportions. There’s enough for everyone — take a bite and then another and another until you stuff yourself and become incapable of seeing any perspective but that which you have chosen to see the world through.

At times, the zombie wars, regardless of the subject over which they are being waged on any particular day, are amusing. Most often, however, they’re scary. Or I may be getting excessively sensitive to stupidity with age. Yes, that must be it. I’ve never seen so much acute, aggressive stupidity going around. I mean, of course, the people who don’t share my opinions, to paraphrase Jerome K. Jerome. Those who do share my opinions are clearly not zombies, obviously.

Incidentally, I also came up with a new word that doesn’t have anything to do with the zombie wars but is a subspecies of zombies, if you will. Amazonbies. Even if someone’s already come up with it, I came up with it on my own. Convergent evolution, if you will.

Kids in the house

I’m currently surviving the final stage of a sleepover that has, I’m sorry to say, failed to live up to my expectations. These expectations, I admit, were highly unrealistic. I don’t even know why I had them. Probably because it was Friday. I expected my 10-year-old daughter and her same-age friend to amuse themselves (which they did) quietly (which they didn’t) and responsibly (which they didn’t).

Some of things I already know about children were confirmed, such as that they are incapable of hearing something the first time you say it, especially if it contains some form, however distant, of prohibition. Others were new to me, such as that 10-year-olds are apparently incapable of whispering even at 5:30 in the morning, which is when the two girls woke up. On a Sunday.

I’m not one who likes to sleep in. I tried it yesterday, for the third time this year, only to find out that yep, I get a headache if I stay in bed long after I’ve woken up. Still, on weekends I like to wake up spontaneously rather than with an alarm clock, which usually happens around 6. And I like my mornings quiet. Which means that I’m writing this from a torture chamber, which I share with the cat, who has been the focus of much of the girls’ attention. Me and Vlad, the modern-day martyrs of parenting mistakes.

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If you feel inclined to support my fragile sanity, you can always make me happy by visiting my book-peddling corner. Fun fact: male readers seem to enjoy my stories as much as female ones. No idea how I did that.

For a thriller wrapped in a dream made of smoke, death and destruction, with a filling of tragedy and atonement sprinkled with drama and served with a side of a relatable villain, press The Dreamer.

For a mystery featuring a vanishing plane, press Sky High (which you can read for free on this blog or on Kobo. I always appreciate feedback).

For random scary stories, here’s a complete list of my published shorter fiction.

 

 

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