[Originally posted at Off Topic Production's forum, two and two thirds years ago.]
Whenever people of a certain age get together one topic that invariably comes up is what they miss most from before the collapse. I don't know whether this is a case of nostalgia, in-group bonding, a group effort to to escape the confines of present reality, or what. Given that psychology doesn't seem to be on anyone's list I'll probably never will know. What I do know is that I think that most people give the wrong answers.
People tend to do broad things, they miss having electricity, or trade, reliable sources of gasoline, or currency backed up by the full faith and credit of the American government. As if life is all about the big things. It isn't. Little things matter more.
I miss cold medicine.
The truth is that without electricity all important things can still get done, you just need some work and some imagination, if you need gasoline you're trying to go too far or move too much, and there is nothing wrong with paying for things in chickens. It's actually better in a lot of ways. Chickens breed; money doesn't. But if you're trying to fight the roving hordes of the undead with a bad cold life becomes very hard very fast.
Case in point, three days after the first full moon after the summer equinox of the year Ansala fell I was trekking through the wilderness when I came across a gaggle of 30 zombies feasting on a recently slain deer. The hunter, nowhere in evidence, had wisely abandoned both the kill and the arrow. They couldn't smell me, I was downwind. The inability to smell their rancid stench is probably the only upside to a cold. But with watery itchy eyes, a clouded mind, and a nose that wouldn't stop running I would have gladly suffered their smell in exchange for being without that cold.
Normally they would have been no problem. I would have walked on by and the event would hardly be worth remembering. I sneezed an epic sneeze. I think I pulled a muscle in my left eye, when I blinked the water from my eyes I saw that they were all coming my way.
Some people, city folk secure behind fences or walls, think it is laughable that anyone would fear zombies. They think that they're just lumbering oafs who a child could escape. When thirty of them are lumbering oafishly your way, you can't see clearly as you try to squint through the water in your eyes, and your better hand is dripping with a sinus full of snot -destroying any hope of holding a weapon well- it is no laughing matter.
I wiped off my hand on my pants, ditched my pack and ran like hell. Fifty fucking chickens worth of supplies, lost because not one capsule of cold medicine remains in the world.
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