Just pretend like we're not moving on to Thanksgiving for a few minutes, ok?
I am afraid of the dark.
I know, it’s a common fear. And it’s not like I could be the president of the “Dark Sissies” club. But I think I could at least qualify as the secretary or treasurer or something. Because I am really afraid of the dark.
We have nightlights all over our house. I tell people that they are for the kids. It’s not a total lie. But they’d probably still be there even if I was kid-less.
When I was 15 my parents built a new house. My room was downstairs at the end of the hall, and the bathroom was at the end of the same hall only a floor above. So in the middle of the night I had a long walk to get to a toilet that was technically only feet away.
This in itself is creepy, since, you know, it’s dark at night. But what made it horrible was that I had to walk past the front door. And it was one of those doors with a glass section, where the glass was all rippley and shapey so that everything you saw through it was all distorted.
And every time I had to walk past it in the dark I was afraid I would see some creepy dude looking through at me, would which be OH scary. But EVEN scarier because his face would be all rippley and distorted. I know, freaky.
So I just held it all night. After awhile it was easy. And on the nights when I might have had too much water after 7 PM, I would run –with my eyes closed- past the door. So that the creepy distorted dude would see me, but atleast he couldn’t freak me out. (Unless he figured out a way to get in…but that’s just too much to think about while running with a full bladder in the dark.)
I also worked at McDonalds for awhile in high school. (Yeah, my life was that glamorous.) In the very back of the restaurant there is “the cage” where they lock up all the supplies and Happy Meal toys. Basically, it’s a bunch of shelves with a chain link gate so that if someone broke in, they would have a hard time getting through the chain link before the cops showed up….or something like that. Although, if I broke into a McDonalds, I wouldn’t be stealing cups and Happy Meal toys, but whatever.
There were a lot of nights that I was required to help close down the restaurant, and it was always really late when we finished. And one night the manager forgot to lock the cage. Which is like a huge no-no. And for some reason I was elected as the person to go back and lock it. (I don’t know why, because I distinctly remember that a manager had to do it, and I was just a lowly ‘drive-thru girl.’)
Since we were about to leave for the night all the lights had already been turned off. And everyone still expected me to walk to the back where it was super pitch black and lock the cage. It totally stinks to be lowest on the employee chain.
I managed a normal pace on the way there. But as I was locking the actual door my imagination took over. And suddenly there was a huge monster with ginormous fangs and claws trying to get out. And he was super ticked that I was locking him in. And he lunged at the chain link with his massive claws protruding through, just inches away from my face. And all the while my hands are freaking out and the key just isn’t working. Kind of like on ET where the kid is trying to scream when he sees the alien for the first time but his body isn’t cooperating. Just, like that….but I wasn’t screaming (yet.)
So I finally locked it -I’m sure it only took about .2 seconds, but when you are staring a super ticked huge monster in the fanged face it feels longer. But just in case the monster broke free I decided to run back to the front. Ok, so maybe it wasn’t a conscious decision – I was just running. And really I knew there was no monster….but I still ran. And then fell, because we had just mopped the ever-greasy floors.
You know, it’s always good to be a victim of fear in front of others. Especially when they all think you’re an idiot. I don’t mind being the provider of laughs….really……
My biggest scared-of-the-dark-and-being-an-idiot-about-it moment actually involved a call to 9-1-1. Which is why I at least earn the status of secretary in the “Dark Sissies” club.
I was living as a sort of part time nanny/chicken feeder with a family in Ririe
One weekend I was house sitting while the family was away. It was a big house and they even had this little door in their basement that I called “the creepy midget door.” Because back then you could say “midget,” plus I wasn’t referring to little people. I was referring to the evil laughing midgets who would come through the little door at night and drag unsuspecting victims into their inescapable dimension of torture.
Quit mocking – it could totally happen.
As one of my house sitting duties I had to feed the chickens before I went to bed, which means that it was already dark. And I was outside. With chickens, and a flash light. Talk about protection. I might as well have been wearing a blinking sign that said, “Fanged monster and/or creepy stalking murderers come get me NOW!!”
Luckily, I made it through the feeding unscathed and still alive. Whew, right? I’m sure you were on the edge of your seat there.
But then I had to shower, because I am also very allergic to anything that grows out of the ground or any animal with fur or feathers. Except right before my shower a couple of guys from church stopped by. I think they felt bad for me because I was kind of a friendless loner there in population 703. So they tried to cheer me up by telling me how easy it was for them to sneak into this EXACT house back when the old owners lived here. And they laaaaaauughed…. Oh gosh, they were a riot. Glad for that piece of info on the weekend I was home alone.
Yet, I made it through the shower ok. Although I was a bit less calm and my imagination did attempt a few small stunts.
So then I was sitting in my room, almost ready to go to sleep. And of course I had my door locked. And the house doors were locked. And I even left some of the main floor lights on as an illusion of someone being home and awake (and because it would have been darker with them off.)
And that’s when I heard it. A distinct THUMP against my wall. A real live THUMP. On the wall I shared with the bathroom – an inside wall. MY wall. MY WALL THUMPED.
And then crying and shaking and extreme listening did happen.
Then I shook some more and cried some more and listened some more. Wondering, “Have I totally lost it?” “But that was a real thump...” “Oh Oh Oh my gosh, I’m going to DIE.” “Oh my gosh I’m going to be brutally beaten by some scary crazed man and then I’M GOING TO DIE!!!!!”
And then I called 9-1-1.
Try explaining a ‘thump’ to a police dispatcher. I think the crying shaky voice may have helped. And I made sure to suggest that the cops knock VERY loudly, because there was no way I was leaving my room until they got here. I was just way too busy shaking and crying – plus, HELLO, something thumped, and IT WAS OUT THERE.
My call for help was answered by multiple cop cars (population 703- not exactly exciting.) So I made the policemen search the house and the yard and the chicken coops and up by the corn in the garden while I stood bashfully explaining that all I heard was a little thump.
Of course nothing turned up. No psycho stalking rapist killers or fanged monsters. Nothing. Which is great really – despite the feelings of shame and knowing that everyone on the street has now seen multiple cop cars sitting at the house while my host family was out of town.
My ‘thump’ theory was that the bathroom door was one of those doors that kind of just drifts towards the wall, and that it took a particularly long time to drift. Which is why it finally reached the wall and thumped 5 minutes after I had actually left the bathroom.
I know it’s a weak theory, right? But I’m pretty sure it was a real thump, because I’m not THAT crazy. Sort of. Well, maybe. And it was dark outside and I have been known to imagine a few things…
But don’t you think that’s worth club secretary or treasurer status? Or maybe I could just be the official button making girl. So that I could hand out “Holy Cow, it’s just the dark, you big wuss.” buttons to club “Dark Sissy” members around the world.
And maybe they could glow in the dark…