Hopeless zombie

There’s a tiny coffee shack on Ventura. It’s just big enough for two baristas, but there is only one barista working today, which is why we’re all standing out in the hot sun.

The place is owned by an Aussie and apparently they do coffee well down under. At least that’s what the Aussie couple in front of me in line is telling the Canadian man ahead of them.

A blonde woman arrives and asks me what’s taking so long. I explain the one barista situation and how I am a “zombie” without my coffee. She agrees. “Hopeless zombie,” she says.

Now, the blonde woman overhears the Canadian at the front of the line talking about how he’s from Toronto. She’s Canadian too!

“I’m the only American,” I say. “Outnumbered in my own country.”

“Sorry mate,” the Aussie man says.

We all laugh.

The Aussie woman says she heard how everyone loves this coffee place.

“Everyone except the sushi restaurant,” the blonde says, nodding to the Japanese place next door. “Parking.”

I explain how that’s crazy. How in the post apocalyptic future we will all have to work together, how the coffee guy should hook up the sushi guy with caffeine in the morning and the sushi guy should feed him fish in the afternoon. I’m rambling because I haven’t had my coffee yet, and I sputter out something about zombies as a metaphor for problems that require collective action.

“Barter,” the blonde Canadian says.

“Exactly,” I say. “All humans are in this together.”

Another Canadian shows up. Introductions are made. Coffee arrives and I step to the window. The conversation continues behind me.

The new Canadian is an actress. But she’s also a single mom with three kids, so it’s hard.

The blonde Canadian is also an actress. She shares some advice about hanging in there and how you can “just put yourself on tape these days.”

I’m waiting for my coffee, but I don’t want to turn around and rejoin the conversation because actors. Actually it feels more like: because “actors.”

But the the Aussie couple, who are tourists on “holiday,” ask that question you’re never supposed to ask.

“Have we seen you in anything?”

“Do you watch The Walking Dead?”

Everyone says yes.

“I played Andrea.”

My jaw drops. Not because I am star struck, but because I am that guy — the one dropping post apocalyptic zombie references to an actor who has probably heard them all about a million times before.

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