Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Things That Go Bump in the Night: Our Perfectly (un)Reasonable Fears

Late one night this weekend, Anya was hanging out in a vacant house that is under significant construction, reading a murder mystery. Shockingly, this is not the story of a drug deal gone bad (or good, or at all) nor is she in the habit of purposely scaring herself. She does not enjoy being afraid, HATES watching horror movies, will never visit a haunted house, not into it. (I have distinct memories of doing that “Bloody Mary” thing in front of the mirror in a darkened bathroom as a ten year old, and my descent into self induced terror ended there.) She is pretty easily frightened, like that one time she was watching Law and Order: SVU and that guy who skinned squirrels killed his mom and laid in bed with her corpse and she had to call Paul to come pick her up because she would not leave the couch for fear of squirrel skinner in the house, waiting to butcher her. We were probably twenty? Yeah.

Anya’s family loves SVU and would happily sacrifice her for an episode based on their loss.

Anyway, she was sitting alone in this pretty chilly, pretty empty, pretty creaky house that her parents are remodeling, and she was 110% sure that someone was lurking in the basement and/or garage, waiting to chop her up into pieces. Obviously, that didn’t happen. Or if there was a lurker, they decided to wait another day to strike (great, now I will NEVER finish ranking the fabric swatches my mom wanted me to look at!). Anyway, petrified Anya made it through, but we assume many of you can identify with this. It can be super spooky to be all alone in an abandoned building, with sounds of mysterious origins coming up through the vents. Horror movies have taught us, that along with snakes, spiders, porcelain dolls, and clowns, nothing good can come of this. We’re never shocked when someone tells us they are afraid of heights, rollercoasters, someone hiding under the bed or in the back of their car, etc.

Thank you, The Cabin in the Woods, for making laugh and giving us horrifying nightmares.

Of course, we can’t be normal here. Sure, we’re freaked out by basically all of the above, but we also have some rather strange fears, and some even stranger things-we-should-be-afraid-

Let’s start with Paul, since Anya already gave you a peek into her crazy head. As a child, Paul spent New Year’s Eve in the family room, watching whatever coverage his parents preferred of the ball drop. They had snacks, played some canasta, made a night of it, fun was had by all. Little did he know his life was about to change dramatically. He and his little brother heard some mysterious scratching at the front door. Immediately alert, they crept slowly toward the door, playing cards still clutched in their sweaty little hands. Peering out the window, what they saw on their front porch would haunt (one of) them forever. A bloodied raccoon was darkening their doorstep, scratching wildly at the door. To this day, Paul swears that it was rabid and coming from a recent fight, purposely expiring on his doorstep.

Is a quiet evening with Kathy and Anderson so much to ask for!?

Since that fateful day, Paul has had what some would call a strong aversion to raccoons. Others would call it an irrational fear. Anya would call it a character flaw, as you could probably guess based on her fondness for disgusting and feral animals. It only causes problems in our relationship when Anya insists on sending Paul pictures of raccoons.

Pure evil.

But it’s not even the most irrational of fears. After all, a rabid raccoon COULD be lurking in your bushes/in the backseat of your car/in your walls, and it COULD jump out and bite you and you’d have to get an unpleasant series of rabies shots. (Worst case scenario, shots. Come ON, Paul!) Although this next fear is even less reasonable than a fear of raccoons, it causes fewer problems in our relationship, probably because we’ve both got a touch of it.

Have you ever been going about your business, whistling a merry tune, unfolding your picnic blanket when suddenly something pops out of your makeshift tablecloth? It’s moving?! It’s a snake!!! OH FUCK! But then it’s not moving, and upon closer inspection, it’s rubber.  Your picnicking companion is lying prone in the peaceful meadow, weeping tears of glee at their clever prank and your horrified reaction. This is as a good a time as any to end the relationship, because what kind of person plays such a lame trick and then rolls about helpless with mirth? A fucking psychopath with a terrible sense of humor.

Could be worse.

I think most people would be startled and fearful in the above scenario (rubber snake prank, but also applies to being trapped in a remote location with a serial killer). Unexpected vermin are never good, and unexpected venomous vermin are even worse. But what if you knew the snake was there? What if you were fully aware that there was a rubber snake glued to the bottom of your picnic basket, and every time you packed or unpacked it, you were going to have to store your watermelon alongside its fake rattler? Most people would probably get used to it, and do that crazy thing your brain does where it stops seeing things that are always there.

Not us! There is a rubber snake that was cleverly(?) planted in our office some time ago, by someone who should have retired some time ago. He’s pretty goddamn attached to this snake, and it’s just WAITING right in the supply closet. Sometimes arranged as if it is poised to sink its fangs into the next person who needs letterhead, sometimes guarding the paperclips, the snake is a menace. And even though we both KNOW it’s in there, we have to take deep, steadying breaths before reaching into its hypothetical range, terrified of its hypothetical slithering/biting/scaly fang stabs. Our secret shame, now you know, world! (or the six of you that are accidentally reading this)

Neither we nor this middle-class Suri are amused.

Another thing that terrifies both of us in equal measure is those Weimaraners with hands. You know the ones? They wear the suits and their silly, dopey heads just hang out while their HUMAN HANDS GESTURE AROUND EVERYWHERE?! UGH. Honestly, we can’t even bring ourselves to Google it and provide you with a picture, you’re going to have to do that yourselves. What began as a mild childhood discomfort while watching Sesame Street, has grown into an acute adult affliction.  Fuck. That. Noise. Enough said.

Check back for a future entry with increasingly irrational anxieties, as well as a fun compilation of things we should be losing sleep over, but aren't.  Anyone with us on these nutty fears?  What weird shit scares the pants off of you?


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