‘Zombieland’ is one of my favourite films of all time. I like Jesse Eisenberg’s character and suitcase on wheels alot. Inspired by his survival tactics, I made up three rules whilst driving along the dark road to the pub on my solo Zooey Deschanel mission:
Rule 1: Stay at least an hour (downing a drink and running away is cheating)
Rule 2: No cellphone – none of that ‘I’m so busy on my phone when I’m actually deleting old smses and checking facebook to avoid talking to anyone’
Rule 3: No explaining ‘well, this is an experiment to see if I can go out alone at night’.
The Himeville Arms looks like you think it does. Thatch roof, lots of buck heads on the walls. Black and white photographs of your and my great grandfather, hunting rifle in one hand, floppy fox in the other. Big fire-place, average size tv, furniture made of varnished gumpoles. It was Friday, the football was on, the place was packed. I sit down at the bar and order a drink. My hand itching for my cellphone already. A couple of minutes later a young guy with a shaved head, sweater vest jersey and a goatee sits down next to me and starts speaking Zulu to the barman in a Scottish accent.
“Hello, are you waiting for someone?”, he asks, turning to me. Rule 3. “Nope”, I say and smile.
He looks at me as if I have just farted and says in his Scottish accent, “Why are you here?”. I think about replying with a smartass answer about existentialism but instead explain that I am house sitting and thought I would just see where the locals hang out. His name is Francis. Francis says that he likes that I don’t care what people think and then he says, “I’m going to be honest with you, that fringe of yours is not doing you any favours”. I look at him like he has just farted and say, ‘Thank you, Francis”. He hits me twice on the head with a vuvuzela and says “You’re funny”.
I hear the girls sitting next to me laughing and Francis turns and starts speaking Zulu to them in his Scottish accent. How does he do that?! They laugh and look at me and laugh some more. They say hello to me and tell me not to worry about him, he is the manager of the Himeville arms and Scottish. I introduce myself. The girl that looks like Jennifer Hudson and Oprah had a love child is the local paramedic and ambulance driver. I asks her what the grossest thing she has ever seen is, she laughs and says “farmers cut their fingers off all the time”. And then she says “No, much worse, a guy in a parachute crashed into a mountain and broke every bone in his body, he was like mince meat”. Her quieter friend, a school teacher, nodded earnestly like she had been there too. I ask them what the best thing about living in the mountains is and the quiet school teacher says “It’s really boring”. Then I ask them what they think the answer to long lasting true love is (I was feeling very Elizabeth Gilbert by now) . They both look at eachother and then say at exactly the same time “Don’t ask questions”.
It was half time already and Ghana were looking like they had still had a chance. Half time meant I had been there more than an hour. I said goodbye to the paramedic and the schoolteacher and slipped away before Francis came back from where ever he had gone. I drove home all high on independence, gross paramedic stories and being hit on the head with a vuvuzela.