Why Moving Cross-Country is Like the Zombie Apocalypse

Firstly, it is entirely Selena’s fault that everything currently occurs to me in the metaphor of a zombie apocalypse. Why is this entirely Selena’s fault? (Aw! ~ed.)  Because she recommended to me the app (that so so so is the opposite of “suck”) Rebuild. Yes, it’s all her fault. Upon downloading this wonderful game, I spent hours on the floor playi”¦ I mean, monitoring the bunny rabbits’ introductions. OK, fine, I was playing the app. I only let the bunnies out to have an excuse  to play this app. And, therefore, everything I’ve thought, dreamt, and talked about has been a zombie reference (more or less obscurely).

But seriously, folks. Have you moved across the country? What about as an adult? As a stubborn adult who refused to leave anything behind? Not even the hat that I never wore that was falling apart anyway? No. I didn’t think so. No one in the entire history of the world has had to go through this sort of thing.

Which is why moving cross-country (especially a big fucking country like the U.S.) is like the Zombie Apocalypse.

Screenshot from ‘Rebuild’ when you lose the game. Reads, “On January 29th, 2014, the last surviving citizens of Edinburgh were killed and its final city block conquered by the undead who now rule over the entire earth. Better luck next time”¦”

First, you should know a quick backstory that will add to the total exhaustion that embodies what I imagine the zombie apocalypse (hereafter: Z.A.) will be known for. (Yes, exhaustion is what the Z.A. will be known for.) BF moved from a city in the midwest to a city in the northern midwest. A mere 510 miles. He had to pack 73% of his apartment the night before, however. So he began to not sleep starting Friday. By Sunday, he had flown to me, in NYC, where we spent a beautiful 36 hours celebrating our love, my birthday, our anniversary, our big move, the fact that we haven’t seen each other in two months”¦ (I imagine this is the equivalent to the night before the world ends). Then, we woke up early Tuesday – at this point, he’s had one semi-decent night sleep – to move the entirety of my apartment into a 12-foot truck in what was easily the hottest day thus far this year.

It smelled like garbage (corpses, indeed), but, admittedly, this is because I lived across from a junkyard on an abandoned street in Brooklyn.

Then, the long trek. Just shy of 1000 miles. 14 hours. We began at 1 p.m. Yup, your math is right. That means arriving at 3 a.m., driving mostly through the night.

Leaving Brooklyn was hard. I had a family there (literally, as my sister was a brief walk away, and acquired family). It was hard to leave it behind. And as we’re pulling out of Brooklyn, about to cross the bridge into Manhattan, I see two friends on the sidewalk, I scream out the window at them, and they push through the crowds, the cars, and they clamber to the window to give hugs, kisses, cries, and goodbyes. Then the light turned green, and we pulled away. Their faces fading further and further into the distance, before they were wholly swept up into the horde, er, uhm, I mean, uhm, crowd”¦ the crowded sidewalk.

And indeed I was travelling into the unknown, in so far as I literally had no idea what my apartment or neighborhood looked like. BF so gratefully and enthusiastically took over the apartment shopping given my inability to multitask come end-of-semester. All I knew was that it was BF-approved. So we kept driving. Him sleeping. Me driving. Picturing a future unpictureable, in a city whose skyscrapers I did not know (something about Batman?), in a neighborhood I’d only heard mentioned. Indeed, I knew not what my future held.

Oh, and I was driving at night. There was no sense of continuity from Pennsylvania (which is the biggest state ever; seriously, it’s like 8 of the 14 hours of the drive) on, nothing unfolding over the horizon coming toward me slowly with a warm, orange, summery sun. Nope. Darkness.

Also, I had not driven for 6-8 months (or more!!!), then had to jump behind a 12-foot tow truck with no rear view mirror?! Talk about horrifying.

We did finally arrive, but it didn’t make the horror that is the metaphor of the Z.A. end. There’s this overwhelming hopelessness that life will ever return to normal, that we’ll never be done unpacking (we’re still not done unpacking, you guise). Just when you think you’ve killed the last wave of boxes, fought back the last wave of clutter, broken down the last bit of cardboard hell, a new, unrelenting mass is heading your way, or,OK, you’re heading toward it (presuming you haven’t retreated into the shower, on the floor, in tears). And, as if the boxes aren’t enough, there was the psychological challenge of the incessantly beeping dryer. Beep… beep……….. beep. *cringes*

Moving across country, to be clear, has been really exciting. It’s a chance at a new life for me and my partner (and the chance at a partnering for our bunnies”¦). We get to create a space that represents both of us, and each particular aesthetic in a way that’s synthesized and personalized.

But holeymotherofgawd it’s been a long trip to get here. We’ve battled darkness and uncertainty, encroaching madness, as well. Seriously, I think we had an argument (read: intense conversation) about whether the ombre rug should be dark to light or light to dark. Things occur and are discussed that never would have come up if this were “normal life,” if we weren’t in the midst of a Z.A”¦ I mean, cross-country move.

Screenshot from the app ‘Rebuild’. ‘Nothing happened today'”¦ oh yea, only the ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE.

We’re in the rebuilding phase. The apartment is coming together, and BF and I are working out kinks that every couple has to upon moving in together. But, (if you’re familiar with the app) it’s day 5 of 10 of building our constitution, though we have more buildings than we really need (seriously, we have so.much.shit). The danger level is continuously decreasing as we both gain skill levels and welcome more people into our camp”¦ er, uhm, lives.

And here we are, both rebuilding our lives – he with a new job, a new territory and the new challenges that comes with these things and me with being outside of academia for the first time since I was five years old (FIVE YEARS OLD YOU GUISE).

There are still looming threats of what people have become (ourselves included), the transience of life in general, and the inevitability of our own ends (or, barring that, the ends of our sanity). However, as with any cataclysmic event, we must learn swiftly that this is the way life is now. So, we unpack our things, settle in, and stay vigilant. Together.

Screenshot from mobile app, Rebuild. Test reads "Danger: 90% Zombie Attack! Zombies:340"


Next: Why the Zombie Apocalypse will be Nothing Like the Zombie Apocalypse



Super special shout out to Marshmallow: zombie-enthusiast, king of (improv) comedy, and master of metaphor, and bff extraordinary.

By philososaurus

Raised on the farmlands of the Midwest, this gluten-free, feminist bunny took New York City by storm earning an MA in Philosophy. She’s currently encroaching on the normative territories in Chicago, spending time jamming the Discursive machines of ‘health’ and ‘illness,' and relaxing with her animal companions: Pfeffer, Yoshi, and Mr(ish) 'Saurus, her human-animal partner.

8 replies on “Why Moving Cross-Country is Like the Zombie Apocalypse”


Honestly, such a role is the *only* way I’d make it through the Z.A. There’s a running, uhm, joke, that is those undead bastards were ever to hit North American land/figured out how to swim, I’d go one of two ways: overseer of the resistance, or offing myself as soon as they hit dry land. Go big or get the fuck out of the Z.A.?

I am both looking forward to and apprehensive about going through this in December when my work will move me to locations unknown…

I love the zombie apocalypse simile (no, I totally didn’t just have to google the difference between a simile and a metaphor :-P), despite having never played Rebuild. I’m glad you survived!

I really tried to end it on a positive note.

Moving is exciting.. but this was a particularly tough move that made everything leading up to it filled with apprehension and a twee bit of terror.

Also, Rebuild is a really good app game, but I merely used it as inspiration for the metap… er, simile ;) It’s pretty standard zombie game except that one of the ways you win is by attacking a misogynistic gang who enslave their women. Hard to tell if you want to beat the zombies or them first……

I’m moving 1200 miles south to Florida in the next few months. I find that if I think about everything that needs to be done before then all at once, I immediately feel like sobbing. It isn’t like when I was 21 and could just all of my shit into the back of a Uhaul or borrowed truck and being all “lulz itz adventurrr!” about the whole thing. I own a house here that I need to find renters for, have 3 pets, the kind of bills that you really can’t skip out on paying for a few months while you get on your feet in a new place, and the kind of grown-up furniture I actually want to take the trouble to move instead of just donating to Goodwill. You find yourself spending an inordinate amount of time worrying about relatively inconsequential stuff like, “Should I get that section of carpet replaced or just leave it because, well, renters?” “Is the bother of moving [piece of furniture] worth it or should I just say ‘screw it’ and pay to replace it in Florida?” and, of course, “How can I rope my friends’ husbands into moving this heavy shit into the Uhaul?” (answer: pizza and beer).

So I don’t know the answers to all of this. I think it’s one of those things you figure out as you go along because you have to. I do think it’s an adventure and I’m looking forward to it, but details are a bitch.

Yea, (sorry for repeating myself), my previous moves weren’t so tough. I mean, they were even longer car rides (22ish hours, still not the worst..). This time though, I was leaving family and excusing myself from academia, both of which were/are really tough choices to choke down and sit calmly with. It made the impending move really treacherous feeling. Indeed, well hopefully anyway, not everyone’s move is filled with so much, uhm, leaving.

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