So, it has been about 4 days since the horror of it all started. Four days since the zombie pandemic started and panic began sweeping the city – and apparently beyond – although, obviously, I cannot attest to that first hand. Four days since we started this now never-ending dress rehearsal for our big Holiday Burlesque Show. At least we were the only ones in the theater that night. I say that because we thought that three pounds of pretzels, huge chunks of cheese, boxes of crackers, and cartons of saki and champagne bottles would last quite a while. But when that is all of the food you have for a group of 11 hungry dancers and a tech, it really doesn’t last very long. Of course, not all 12 of us need to eat food anymore. Five dancers have succumbed so far to the zombie affliction and two more are now coughing and hacking. It could be just a cold – goodness knows conditions are poor. But I am watching them closely and making sure I am sleeping in a shut room well away from the two of them. We have the five that have transformed tied up with tree tinsel and ensconced in the men’s bathroom. I am sure they could easily break the bonds, but they don’t appear to really be smart enough to do so. I removed the toilet paper before we put the zombies in there – can’t waste valuable resources or risk getting bitten any more than absolutely necessary. 

Periodically, one of us peers out the glass door in front of the theater. I shut the iron gate in front of the door and locked it when we realized this zombie outbreak was really happening. Every once in a while we see a small pack of zombies traveling by. Even more infrequently we get a still-human runner. No one has stopped at the door, which is good, because I don’t want to make the decision of whether we let anyone else inside. Amazingly, we are still getting fresh water through the tap and electricity. The phone works occasionally, but text messages seem to be the best communication with loved ones outside. Unfortunately, not all of our performers have achieved contact with their families. No internet, but we have radio. Spotty, but periodic. We listen occasionally for emergency messages. One station is playing continuous music. The ladies wanted to keep it on, but I said no, we have to conserve batteries. There may be more in the store room, but I don’t have keys to that and I am not sure we have the strength to break down the door.  


Part of me hopes that we will still be rescued. As I said, the zombies are not smart and can be easily picked off with weapons. However, it depends on the progression of the disease and who is left to rescue the populace. We may have to leave soon as we will have no choice when food supplies get desperate. But where to go and the best way to get there and not get attacked is uncertain.  


Mr. Velvet and I text at least a few times a day. He has volunteered to come rescue me. However, I think it is a better decision for him to remain at the house in a place of safety than for both of us to be running around the streets at risk. He has not had any problems with zombies trying to get into the house. I guess they are not fond of or don’t understand stairs. Even the backyard seems safe with the fences surrounding it. He can see and hear Mission street from the roof. While it was crazy the first couple of days, it has apparently calmed down. He is taking care of the dogs and the guinea pigs. Luckily, I have a tendency to stockpile, so he has plenty of food – canned, boxed, frozen. He will run out of perishables, but he won’t starve. The piggies are not happy without their fresh greens, but he has plenty of hay for them. And cheerios.  


So, I have decided to reflect on the last year as we either await rescue or make other decisions that impact whether we live or die. It has been a very rough year and is somehow fitting that we should be dealing with a zombie apocalypse at the end of it. Not that I have not had some really wonderful personal accomplishments, but the country has been hit hard by storm, fire, and now this. While I am not religious, I wonder if we are re-living the modern version of the seven plagues.  


In addition to producing my own show, teaching dance and burlesque classes, and performing in San Francisco and the Bay Area, including Sacramento on occasion, I did perform in several festivals this year. I got to go back to Boston for the Great Burlesque Exposition, as well as the London Burlesque Festival (my first trip to London), The Mile High Burlesque Festival in Denver, the Hollywood Burlesque Festival (one of my favorites), the Ohio Burlesque Festival, and The Wiggle Room in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. They were all a lot of fun. And while I thought that I would never visit London, UK and Winston-Salem, NC in the same quarter, they were both unique and delightful trips. My favorite tourist sites in London were the Tower of London – super interesting historically – and the Victoria and Albert Museum, which is the Victorian era and so just fabulous architecturally since I love that period. The stuff inside was pretty cool, too, but I was just happy to explore the building itself. Winston-Salem, NC was an interesting little town with a vibrant arts community and lots of fascinating little shops. I think I did more shopping there than I did in London. (The prices were MUCH cheaper in NC.) Work took me to Hawaii for about 5 weeks of the year and Mr. Velvet and I actually went to Hawaii on vacation for a week. We went to Oahu and the Big Island (neither one of us had ever been there.) It was nice having some time together. He usually doesn’t like to or is not able to travel with me on work trips. And festival trips are often so quick it is not worth the wear and tear on him to go…  


Mr.  Velvet and I were thinking about both going to London together in the next couple of years. But that may not happen unless we can get all the zombies eradicated. Hopefully the disease has at least eradicated some terrorists. I wonder if Trump has survived? Or was he already a zombie? Although maybe a little too smart… for a zombie…


Mr. Velvet succeeded in relinquishing his position as academic senate president. He had served two terms (four years). It was time. Now he is back to being a regular college professor. Grading more papers. At the beginning of this zombie thing Mr. Velvet joked about the respite from paper grading, but I think he would rather be mucking about grading papers than dealing with zombies. Of course, maybe there is not much difference…


What else? While all the natural disasters around the country and internationally were devastating, the North Bay fires definitely impacted lives in San Francisco. A lot of people I know personally and from work were impacted – losing homes, businesses, everything they owned. And, while minor in comparison, the smoke in San Francisco from the fires was stifling, reaching dangerous health levels. Building air conditioning and filtration systems (those that had them) could not keep up with the smoke and I had a migraine as a result for days. Of course, the awful precursor to that was the crazy heat we had in San Francisco. 106!! It was a record high. While other parts of the country lamented about the San Francisco “snowflakes” being so sensitive to heat, 80’s is high for the Bay Area and so many people have no air conditioning – at work or at home. Two of my guinea pigs died because of the heat – one had a heat stroke and the other’s tummy shut down and stopped processing her food. The sky looked like the apocalypse. It was a reddish-orange haze that only happens in post-apocalyptic-type movies. As a result, we bought two “portable” air conditioners. I figured we would get more hot days. And they helped keep the smoke out of the house during the fires. And, frankly, I don’t want any more pets to die from the heat… I mean, the pet I like least seems the most resilient. Hmmmmm…. I wonder if the zombies like to eat neurotic dogs? Probably not… Oh, well.


So, who knows what next year will bring or, hell, even tomorrow. I hope you have a great Holiday season and that you are safe with plenty of food and water and not at risk of zombie attack or whatever other major disaster – avalanche, typhoon, hurricane, flood, earthquake, president, tsunami, or any combination thereof – could possibly afflict you.  


I hear pounding at the front gate. I do hope it is someone providing help or telling us that the zombie outbreak is over! Of course, the way the year has been going it is probably the big toenail of Godzilla brushing against the building. I mean, what else could go wrong? This has GOT to be the worst dress rehearsal EVER!!!