For all intents and purposes, I am a New York City girl. Although I grew up in Westchester, I have been going in and out of the city about twice a week since the time I was sixteen. I was fourteen when my parents let me go on the train by myself, I was sixteen when I got my heavily used metro card and I was eighteen when I got my first summer internship in the city; going through the hustle and bustle of the NYC five days a week from 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM. So for some odd reason, I feel some sort of comfort as we are reading Zone One like I have the upper hand advantage on this one.
It is true that I have never been infected by a disease that turned me into a zombie, but I very well could be. The line that altered me to this fate the most was, “Just another day at the office when she gets bit by some New York whacko while loading up on spring mix at the corner deli’s Salad Lounge. Full of plague but unaware” (p.18) . This line made me giggle as we were reading aloud in class because it was a scene that was almost all too familiar in the scariest sense possible.
When you are in the city something chances, it is almost like the rules change; your expectations change. The ways that you interact with someone in the suburbs is totally different from the way you interact with that same person in the city. If someone were to bite you in the suburbs, you would have stopped what you are doing, told the manager, called the police, probably told the town paper and altered everyone that you know about this problem. In the city however it goes like this; someone bites you, you stop, you roll your eyes, maybe curse at them, and then continue on with your day. I cannot even fault the woman who was infected because it is the way that I, as well as almost every other New Yorker, would have handled this situation. This book works so well because it is so true to its setting. It is the way that New Yorkers would have interacted and while it might shock some who don’t know NYC, it is a complete and total representation of life in the city.