Wednesday, August 30, 2006


On an average day, there are a great many things that I am afraid of. That there are bugs crawling on me, that there is a stain on my butt I can't see, that I will fall onto the subway tracks, that someone is waiting in the dark at the end of the hallway, that I will trip and break all of my teeth; these but scratch the surface of the things that terrify me on a regular basis.

I admit that I am crazy, but only if you, scoffer, admit that the world is gross and unpredictable.

Just this afternoon, for instance, I sat down on a bench in Madison Square Park to drink my coffee and read my book. A man sat down entirely too close to me, considering I was on an an empty bench. Then he flossed his teeth. This was a fear I didn't realize I had, that the wet floss of a stranger might touch my leg, or worse, that some undigested tidbit might flick out of his mouth and onto my face.

See? I may be insane, but people are basically gross at heart.

I know that most of the things that I'm afraid of are irrational, but this morning on the subway I was pretty sure one of my worst nightmares was coming true. I was sitting on the 6, reading Moby Dick, and a hippie-looking older woman got on at Bleecker Street. A fifth-grade art teacher type. Carrying a tote bag. Wearing reading glasses on the end of her nose. Then, at Astor Place, the same exact woman got on the train. Art teacher, tote bag, glasses. Sat down across from the original woman. A man sitting next to her did a double take, the women glanced at each other, and continued reading their respective books.

The most frightening episode of the Twilight Zone I ever saw was the one where a girl travelling alone is waiting in a bus station on a rainy night. Her suitcase goes missing, she finds it across the room already checked. She goes to the bathroom to wash her face and the cleaning lady insists she's already been there. Her bus finally arrives after a series of inexplicable and increasingly eerie occurrences, but when she goes to board she finds a woman sitting in her seat who looks exactly like her. Except she's got this diabolical, creepy-as-fuck look on her face.

This majorly fucked me up as a kid.

I sat still until my stop, at which point I basically bolted off the train as fast as I could without arousing suspicion I'd left a bomb on board. I was afraid to even breathe. I was doubly scared to look up from my book, because, obviously, if I were to do so I would just find them both staring at me, and after one pregnant moment that contained more menace than I thought existed in the world they would attack, and no one on the train would say a thing, and they would throw my remains off the car at Union Square, and then at 23rd street a girl who looked just like me would get on, sit in my seat, and start reading from my slightly bloody hardcover.


I guess it's supremely narcissistic to have your number one irrational fear be that you will replaced by someone who looks just like you. If I think about it, I'm sure I can come up with something more justifiably frightening than not getting credit for being me.

Like, for example, having a horse and twin babies in your care, and watching them eat poisonous berries because they want to die, a la my dream last night.

Never said I wasn't crazy (please refer to paragraphs two and four).

But perhaps I should cease watching "When A Stranger Calls" right before bed. And, also, being crazy.


Anonymous nicole - yeah that one said...

guy flossing his teeth next to you - gross AND weird

when a stranger calls wasn't that spooky - and how come she did not check on the kids right when she got to the house (even just to see what they looked like?) -

10:40 AM  
Anonymous Kathy said...

Have you seen the original 'When a Stranger Calls', with Carole Kane? It's SO much better. This one wasn't particularly terrifying, but there were enough creepy moments to make me dream about dead horses. --Kathy

10:46 AM  
Anonymous nicole - yeah that one said...

must rent the original then

11:32 AM  

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