Some days it genuinely feels like I’m wearing a “tell me about your problems and expect me to solve them, as if I didn’t have any worries of my own. Keep going even if I wave you off, I mean it” sign around my neck every time I walk into a new settlement. Everyone starts gushing their life story and wants me to get to the root of their problems.

The real root of their problems is that they don’t think they can do anything about them. I have a lot of problems, particularly since I didn’t grow up in this blasted wasteland-world, but what keeps me able to travel instead of holed up in a ditch crying is the fact that I’m trying to solve them. I’m trying to make strides. I’m out there, at risk, because I think the reward will be worth it.

I’m no hero, I’m no avenging angel or purifying beacon of hope. I’m just a woman in a messed-up world who realized she can’t rely on other people. Do I care that cases of “missing persons” aren’t going investigated in a big city? Sure, in so far as I don’t want to go missing, and maybe one or two of those missing people have information that could be valuable to me. Did I set out into this blasted world solely to solve their disappearance problem? Absolutely not.

There’s no need for me to get caught up in their petty squabbles or disagreements; I’m not the right one to teach them self-efficacy either. I’m here to keep surviving, and sometimes that means doing odd jobs for caps so I can afford a hot meal and safe place to sleep. I get so tired of their constant mewling though, and it’s the same in every camp, settlement, or city. Locals want things done, are unwilling to do them of their own violation, and so turn to the first wanderer who looks like she knows which is the business end of a rifle.

The first words I heard as I walked into town today were “don’t worry, I am not a synth!” Charming. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – who cares if someone’s a synth? There’s no mustache-twirling robot out there who wants to kill all humans, trying to infiltrate the fledgling governments that spring up. All they have to do is wait! I can hardly believe that humanity has held on this long since the bombs dropped.

A few hours of shut-eye and a long bath, paid for an afternoon of ghoul-hunting. That’s what I need. Maybe in the morning I’ll have the energy to write down all their problems into a list and start taking a look.