Posted tagged ‘fear’

“Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is.”

August 29, 2014

My mouse died so I had to go to Radio Shack to get a new one. It didn’t work. I investigated and found my USB port wouldn’t connect one thing to another as my printer didn’t connect either. I moved down a bit to another port and was able to connect, but I got a message about my keyboard not connecting. That was a strange one as this is a laptop and my keyboard is always connected. I removed and then put the thingamajig connection to my new mouse back into the port. It all worked. This morning I noticed what I first thought was a blob of dust on the guest room floor then I thought maybe Maddie didn’t like the condition of her litter box and figured the guest room floor a perfect substitute. I grabbed a handful of TP and went to clean. It was neither. It was a dead baby mouse. I’m thinking the coincidence is pretty eerie.

The day has yet to make up its mind. The sun comes out then disappears, but it is chilly even when the sun stays around a little. Right now it is only 69˚and I’ve closed the window behind me to keep out the cool breeze.

My father’s story of the man with the hook scared me. He had a couple of versions. There was one where the teenagers in the car were the intended victims but they escaped and sped off with the hook dangling from the window. That scared me but in the same way scary movies did. The version of the man scratching the window with his hook was different. I could believe the dirty, disheveled man was skulking around the neighborhood looking for victims. Every time a branch scraped against the window I knew it was the hook, and I was scared for real.

One night my parents were out grocery shopping when the scratching began. I was so scared I ran around the house looking for a hiding place. Under the bed was one but that seemed a bit obvious. If I were a crazed maniac with a hook, that would be the first place I’d look. The closet was another. I could hide behind the clothes on the hangers but what to do with my feet presented a problem. I couldn’t run for help. He was outside. If I used the phone, he’d know exactly where I was. I could feel my heart beating out of my chest, and I gasped for every breath.

When I heard a noise at the front door, I hid in the closet. I figured the man had found me and I was doomed except I wasn’t. It was my parents bringing in the groceries. I told them about the hook and the scratching. My dad told me the story wasn’t real, but I didn’t believe him. I had heard the scratching. I knew the man with the hook was still out there somewhere. My parents  had scared him away, but I knew it was just for now.

“When you can’t figure out what to do, it’s time for a nap.”

March 7, 2013

The wind is howling and twisting and turning the pine branches which seem to bend enough to touch the ground. The rain began falling last night, and when I woke up, I could hear it on the roof and windows. As I’m writing, wet snow, slanted by the wind from the north, is beginning to fall, but it hasn’t the look of permanence. The rain will be back, and the wind will howl all day into tomorrow.

The wind is the sort which is the backbone of every tale told by the fire, tales of creatures who roam the night, their sounds muted by the wind. Branches against the windows become scratches made by disfigured hands or even hooks. I remember those stories my father told us. We knew they weren’t real or at least pretended to know, but fear is more easily muted in a warm house with lots of lights and closed doors and my father to protect us.

We did a couple of errands yesterday and today we’ll stay home. It is a day not fit for man nor beast. I had to push Gracie out the door this morning, and the trauma has kept her napping on the couch for hours. Maddie and Fern, neither of whom had any trauma, are also napping. I imagine theirs are gestures of solidarity.

Today is laundry day maybe. I did bring it down from upstairs, but that doesn’t mean anything. The laundry bag can sit against the cellar door for a day or two without me caring. The old me, the before I retired me, would already have had the laundry washed, dried, folded and ready for upstairs. The retired me just dropped it by the door.

The day is ugly. I have no ambition, but I don’t really need any. I have a new book that seems to want my attention. I didn’t make my bed on purpose, not out of laziness but rather because the thought that today, a dark, dismal, rainy day is perfect for a nap in a cozy, warm bed.

“Our goal is not the victory of might, but the vindication of right…”

October 23, 2012

My temperature gauge let me know the morning was cold. When I got out of bed, Gracie burrowed. She pushed the covers to the bottom of the bed and snuggled. Gracie, a creature of comfort, had made her own nest of warmth. She was right about the cold house. It was early and the heat had yet to come on so I needed a sweatshirt and warm slippers, but by the time I got downstairs,  the heat was blowing. Soon enough the house was warm.

The day is beautiful and will be in the 60’s. I need to fill the bird feeders and do a couple of errands. Yesterday I was a sloth.

The 50th anniversary of the Cuban missile was yesterday. I remember watching the flickering black and white television when President Kennedy announced the blockade of Cuba and warned the Soviets that any nuclear attack from Cuba would be construed as an act of war, and that the United States would retaliate in kind. I was in high school, old enough to understand we were in crisis and nuclear war was a possibility. I had learned duck and cover in grammar school, but when the President made his announcement, we all knew duck and cover was naive, that nuclear weapons would be devastating: destroying cities and killing untold numbers of people. I remember hearing the announcement that the Soviets ships delivering the missiles had not yet turned back. On the TV were maps depicting the positions of their ships and ours and how close their ships were to the American naval blockade. All of us were scared to death. We had grown up with the Cold War, and the Soviet Union had always been the bad guy.

We waited thirteen days for the crisis to end. The longer we had to wait the more frightened we became. It was all we talked about on the bus ride to school, in school, at lunch and while standing in groups outside after lunch. We thought our world was going to end.

On October 28th Khrushchev announced he would dismantle the missile installations and return the missiles to the Soviet Union. The US agreed not to invade Cuba. The world sighed in unison.

We wouldn’t know for years the backstage negotiations between Khrushchev and Kennedy. All we knew was we had been on the brink of war for thirteen days. I remember all of it, but I remember the fear most of all.

“The stuff that dreams are made of.”

August 14, 2012

Sorry for the lateness of the hour, but I had a library board breakfast meeting this morning at 10. I actually set my alarm, a jarring way to wake to the day, so I’d have time for coffee and a paper before I left.

It is already getting hot and will reach 84˚ today, not hot for other parts of the country but it is for us, and when you add a bit of Cape humidity, the heat becomes even a bit more miserable.

Last night was movie night. We had appies first and played Phase 10, our favorite of all card games. Supper was chicken and Waldorf salads, perfect for a summer evening. The movie was Night of the Hunter, one of my all time favorites. I love all the angles of the rooms, the play with light and dark, the river and the views of the animals along the river. My friends, who had never seen it or even heard of it, liked it and thought Robert Mitchum creepy and perfectly evil. We munched lemon bars as we watched.

One Saturday matinée I saw was Over the Rainbow. It was probably sometime in the mid-50’s before movies on TV so I knew nothing about the movie. I remember being totally amazed when it went from B&W to color after Dorothy’s house crashed in Munchkin Land. I still think that whole scene is one of the prettiest in the film, and I especially love the flowers.

When I saw Aliens, it was with my friend Annie. We were both sitting there with tubs of popcorn watching Ripley and Burke walk through a lab with specimens in glass containers. One of the specimens jumped at the glass. We all jumped, but my friend Annie was even more dramatic. She jumped so much that her popcorn went flying all over the people in front and in back of us. It was pretty funny and is what I remember most about the movie.

Jaws made me jump as well. It was when Matt Hooper was diving to check out Ben Gardner’s sunken boat and Ben’s face floated out of a hole at Hooper who jumped, and I jumped right with him. The music from that film still haunts me.

I like being scared by a movie because I know nothing will happen to me; I’m perfectly safe. It is, after all, only a movie!

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear.”

April 12, 2012

Today is one of those days when I wish I lived in Victorian England and could languish on the chaise with a case of the vapors. I’d press the back of my hand against my forehead and sigh. It’s not that I feel bad today but I’m tired of neither days: neither sun nor rain. Today is such a day: cloudy yet again without the possibility of rain.

Yesterday was chore day, no wonder I want to languish. It was a trip to Boston for a doctor’s appointment, a change the bed, do the wash and hit the dump day. The dump was last, a half hour before it closed. I thought it would be empty, but there were so many cars I was thinking there must be prizes being given away but, alas, there were none. I even had to sit and wait for a place to park just to dump my trash.

I seem to have nothing on my mind today. No memories pop to the surface, and my life is quiet, almost routine. Even the birds are fewer at the feeders. A flicker, a goldfinch and a chipmunk have been my only visitors. The spawns of Satan have been missing of late so I haven’t even had the opportunity to rant. The chipmunk gave me a chuckle because it was dining on the squirrel buster but weighs too little to close the seed ports. I did shoo it away, and when I did, I noticed it had cheeks filled with seeds as if it had the mumps.

I watched an odd movie the other day, Vanishing on 7th Street. Almost the entire population of Detroit had disappeared and only their clothing, glasses and shoes were left, lying about where the people had been standing. The movie plays on fear of the darkness on what used to make us afraid to look under the bed. The darkness flows and surrounds the people who are left then they disappear and their clothes fall to the ground. Only light keeps the darkness at bay.

I like the feeling of being afraid but not for real. I want my fear manufactured by a scary movie or book. I never want to worry about what’s hiding in the closet or under the bed.

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