I am a scaredy-cat, internet. Big time (which is why my dedication to and insane love of Halloween seems… well, a little paradoxical).
I scream and jump when someone accidentally brushes me at a bar (it’s made for some awkward encounters). I got freaked out the other day when Captain Apollo and I watched Coraline. You know, the animated Tim Burton movie?
Because of my skittishness, I have a long standing history of not doing so well at haunted houses. I believe the first one I went to I was about six or seven, and my Papear (grandpa) took me to a local one put on in a church right in town. Probably not so scary.
I made it about 20 feet inside until a dead man popped out of a coffin and I started crying and screaming and did not stop until Papear bought me ice-cream (manipulative? Perhaps).
You would think that would be the end of it, but when I was twelve or thirteen all the dads volunteered to take my friends and I on a haunted hayride.
I vividly remember throwing a hissy fit because I didn’t want to go, getting told that I had to go, and then getting made fun of for crying like a six-year old the entire time.
Scene repeats, three more successive years. Oddly, my parents seem to have suffered a very specific type of brain damage that prevented them from remembering the trauma of the prior year until after they were consoling me in the parking lot and my friends were laughing at me… again.
Probably the same type of brain damage that keeps them from remembering exactly how big of a wuss I am when it comes to spicy food.
At any rate, Halloween offers something different for everyone. For some, its the chance to watch scary movies and go on ghost tours. For parents, its the joy that their kids get from a night of free candy, and if they’re smart, the whiskey they spiked their coffees with to get them through a night of candy fueled children. For me, it’s the satisfaction of pulling off a really good Halloween costume.
What’s your favorite thing about Halloween, internet?
I have a lot of irrational fears. They range the gamut from being a mild annoyance in my life to a crippling terror. One of my New Year’s resolution’s this year was to finally take one off the list. It’s not going well.
I think it’s interesting that fear can shift and change a lot over the course of someone’s life. When I was a little girl, I was pretty positive that at one point I was going to wake up and my bed with have floated out of the house because of a giant flood, so I slept with a bag of “survival supplies” (books, a change of underwear, and a chocolate bar). I do not have any idea where this concept came from, although I did live on a lake in Canada in a haunted house. My best guess is that the story of Noah’s Flood confused me. I was not a quick learner.
At some point my fear of flooding magically went away and was replaced with a ridiculous, all-consuming fear of heights. I fell off a chairlift and ended up dangling off of it for the whole ride up. It was unpleasant. I was maybe 10 years old. I still have a vivid memory of this incident. No bueno. Interestingly, I’ve becoming pretty good at handling chairlifts, but gondolas, tall cliff faces, large buildings, balconies, and poorly made porches are a serious no-go for me. I passed out at the top of the Eiffel tower. It was super embarrassing.
Coupled with my fear of heights is a fear I’can really only conceptualized as “fear-of-imagining-myself-falling-from-the-ceiling”. It’s almost like reverse claustrophobia in that I’m not great with large open spaces, but it’s more like I’m timid around large open spaces within buildings. I remember going into a very large cathedral in France and the space between myself and the roof was mindbogglingly awful. I was perfectly aware that I was on the ground and I wouldn’t even be going up somewhere high, but all that space above me was just the worst thing, for some reason.
Thunderstorms. I hate thunderstorms. I don’t like loud, sudden noises. I don’t know.
Do you have any awful irrational fears, internet?
***In the effort to have somewhat of a regular theme or at least a schedule, and in line with my goal of keeping myself writing creatively, Fridays will now be devoted to flash fiction. Huzzah.
Today’s prompt is from Flash Fiction – Write from a child’s POV.
I was mad at Aunt Martha for a whole week after she made me wash my mouth out with the slim bar of Dove’s she kept especially for these occasions. I didn’t even get to explain to her what had really happened before she marched me up the stairs to the sink and stuck the end of the slimy stick between my teeth. I was specially mad because no one had told me beforehand that what I said was A Bad Word and that saying that my stepbrother Jon was one for pushing me off the docks was a Sin, even if it was true.
I wanted to explain to Aunt Martha afterwards that I had heard my Mom call my stepdad Ray that Word two days before in the living room, but then I remembered that I had supposed to be in bed anyways and that maybe sneaking downstairs for an extra cookie even after bath time and prayers was maybe also a Sin, and at that point I’d already washed my tongue off real good. It wasn’t fair though, and I explained to Him that I felt like it was okay because Jon got two cookies and a sip of the wine that kids weren’t supposed to have at dinner, and he’s a whole two years younger than me.
I remember they had finished off a whole bottle of that red stuff between the two of them minus one sip for Jon and none for me, because they gave me the bottle to put into the recycle bin in the garage and my slippers got wet on the bottom, and Mom yelled at me because I got marks on the floor when I came back in. I had to go to bed early again for that and I had to say three extra prayers, even though Jon didn’t even have to. I guess that’s why I was so mad that I snuck down the stairs to eat another cookie, and Mom and Ray were yelling real loud so they didn’t even hear me, and just when I reached out for the extra chocolately one right on top, Mom said The Word. I remembered it because it started with a juh sound like January and that’s when my real dad went to heaven last year.
What I did tell Aunt Martha was that I really didn’t mean to call Jon That Word, but that it wasn’t fair because he didn’t even get punished for pushing me, and that I was mad because nobody helped me up out of the water and it was at the big kid’s dock and I don’t swim so good yet. Maybe that was all I needed to say, because she even gave me a toothbrush to get all the extra soap out, and that made me a little less mad, and she told me that He was watching and that if I waited and was a good girl, He would save me. And I wanted to tell Aunt Martha that I didn’t want saving, I just wanted an extra cookie, but then it was time to go home, and I didn’t want to keep Mom waiting in the driveway.