If you’re a fan of binge-viewing, odds are you’ve experienced a side effect at one time or another. Once, I found myself looking at puddles and thinking about how I’d make the water drinkable after watching too many consecutive Man vs. Wild episodes on Discovery. Another time, I was jumpy on the street walking home from a friend’s house where we’d been marathoning CSI on Spike.
Over the Fourth of July weekend, I decided it was time to finally watch The Walking Dead and plowed through the first two seasons — 19 episodes — in two days. At the end of the second day, I was raiding my sister’s fridge for sodas to take to my mother’s house for dinner and felt pretty badass loading up my backpack — like I was one of the characters on The Walking Dead pillaging supplies from an abandoned house or pharmacy or staying on the move. My sister lives on a mountain, off an unpaved road, with a fence around her property to keep animals from dining on her husband’s gardens and their dogs, which I was pet-sitting, from running away. It felt like the kind of remote place that would be safe from zombies — for a while — should a zombie apocalypse ever begin. Perhaps that’s why I maybe sorta freaked out the night her retriever Duke, who rarely barks, ran out to the fence and made a lot of noise. (I have no idea what it was, because he trotted back inside before I summoned a flashlight/the courage to check.)
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