April 29, 2005

shades of poltergeist

As you may recall, I spent last weekend on a gorgeous farm in upstate New York. The sprawling property included two large houses and an apple orchard. I slept in the smaller house with The Masseuse and her girlfriend and, apparently, the house is haunted. Um, had I known that before, I might not have agreed to go on this trip because, well, I'm a scaredy cat. When it comes to things that make me pee my pants, ghosts rank behind rats/mice, bugs, snakes, loud thunder and Eartha Kitt.

I don't talk about this fear much because unlike, say, bugs in my wee studio, I don't encounter spirits and the undead all that much. This is partly by design because I tend to avoid seances, ouija boards and other slumber party games that call on the dead to come out of hiding and inflict harm upon us. While we're on the subject, why do people engage in the latter? Specifically, why do people insist on testing the patience of Bloody Mary? I mean, if you only dare mention the death of her child while standing in front of a mirror (after having chanted and turned around three times), that broad is rumored to reach out through the mirror and scratch out your eyes! Who needs that? Urban legend or not, I'd rather not take that chance, thank you very much. Next to my hair, my eyes are my best feature. And I need them to watch TV, yo.

Anyhoo, I slept in a room all by myself fully aware that ghosts might be watching me. However, I was far too tired to care so I went about the business of falling asleep. Now earlier in the day, when I was originally shown my room, I noticed a creepy clown doll sitting in a chair in the corner. My gracious host gladly accommodated my request to move it. I've found that no one will ever give you crap about this fear. People get on my case about my fear of mayonnaise and ice-breakers/trust exercises but they're rather understanding of the clown phobia. I appreciate that.

So as I was dozing off, I heard a rather loud clicking noise coming from the corner. I ignored it but it became louder and more frequent. I tried doing the rational thing and blaming it on the heater. Yeah, that didn't quite pan out. The noise continued so I pulled the blankets over my head, mashed my eyes closed tightly and clung to my security blanket for dear life (yes, it goes on road trips with me).

But the noise persisted and I continued to panic. I then began scaring myself further with memories of that Brady Bunch episode when Marcia and Jan rigged that creepy thing out of cellophane and a coat hanger and nearly made Peter and Bobby shit themselves in the attic. I could totally hear its haunting voice gasping and pleading for air as it arose from the foot locker. I was officially petrified.

At this point, I began using telepathy to appeal to the ghost's sense of decency to just leave me alone and let me sleep. I made assurances that I wouldn't touch any of the ghost's shit or disturb it any way if I could help it. I was met with more clicking. I decided that the ghost was a bastard and then quickly retracted the thought and apologized just in case. Clearly, I was becoming unhinged.

I heard The Masseuse's girlfriend go into the bathroom so I hopped out of bed and told her my tale (um, I may have left out the psychotic mental pleading/bargaining part though). The Masseuse overheard and the three of us went back into my bedroom to investigate. We engaged in a brief round of "No, you open the door!" before the Girlfriend worked up the nerve to peek in the closet. Alas, there was nothing out of the ordinary in there except some clothes and a heating pipe. The three of us agreed that it was in fact the radiator making the noise and there was no more cause for concern. Truthfully, I don't think any of us were 100 percent convinced but what can you do? We retreated to our rooms and managed to sleep through the night.

The next morning, I walked over to the main house to join the rest of the group for breakfast. The Masseuse was there and had already informed them of the previous night's fright fest. I was assured that it was in the fact the heater making all that racket. But then Candy, she of the gracious hosting and clown removal, added, "Wow, it's a good thing I didn't move the clown into the closet. I almost did, you know!"

Oh.my.God. If that fucking doll was in the closet when the Girlfriend opened the door, I would have been out of that house SO fast. There would have been reports of a barefoot, pajama-wearing woman running at breakneck speed down the NYS Thruway. I'm out of shape but with fear as a motivator, I could very easily make Jesse Owens look like a slow poke.

Hey, has anyone ever thought of basing a workout on fear and scare tactics? If creepy things jumped out or chased them, people would run -- or shit -- off the pounds lickety split. With Eartha Kitt on my tail, I'd certainly drop 10 pounds in as many minutes. Someone want to help me market this?