I’m on my laptop for a few hours here until hubby finishes playing on the desktop. I’ve been whispering and mumbling to it…Randy (hubby, who is definitely a Mr. Grumpy before his second cup of coffee) is pouring that second cup and notes, “Who are you talking to?”
“My laptop.” He rolls his eyes and slouches back into the office. It’s okay – in just a bit, he’ll saunter back out here to the kitchen, lean over the table and share morning kisses. Oddly enough, I was the grump in the morning for years. Not anymore and not by my choice; kind of difficult to sleep in when a 90 pound boxer leaps on top of you whimpering to go outside NOW! Also difficult to be mad about it. He’s a big, clumsy, goof of a dog and full of joy. Boxers really are the clowns of dog breeds.
Anyway, my point here is that I don’t write much on my laptop. The poor thing is over two years old, needs updates that stupid Norton Anti-virus keeps blocking, had a defective battery from day one, is an irregular – great price but when we got it home, we found out why. The battery for one and the fact that the keyboard is deep bronze-colored while the keys are black. Impossible to see in most light, and it’s been forty-some years since my high school touch-typing class. I stuck white sticker letters on it, but half of ’em have fallen off. Having been a professional proof-reader, I do go through my writings, but if there are mistakes today, I’m blaming the laptop!
Last night I mentioned I’m a coward. Not entirely true. I can be brave and have been, but there are some things I just can’t face. My flight impulse kicks in (and my fight impulse kicks me in the butt about it later) and I run or hide.
I enjoy scary movies, rollercoasters, trying new things. I loved sky-diving – we sat on the floor of a tiny stripped down puddle jumper of a plane, the only seat was for the pilot. Being total newbies, we all went tandem (strapped to an instructor – I got the hunky six-foot-five Swedish guy, oh my!), except for our son-in-law Charlie. He was a hot wire power lineman and convinced the instructor to let him jump solo. That’s a memory I cherish – Charlie, whooping and hollering with glee as he drifted down to a perfect landing.
I loved stepping out onto the strut, feeling the wind trying to whip me away, I loved the free-fall, whooshing faster than I’d ever gone, I loved the incredible view after the chutes opened and we drifted to the ground. My BODY did NOT love the drifting. It protested by dry-heaving all the way down. Swedish guy said, “Tuck your nose into the neck of your shirt so you don’t vomit on us!”
We landed with me laughing between dry-heaves. Swedish guy swiftly unbuckled my gear and pointed out the bathroom. I made it there in time. Hey, better than Brian! Our oldest son came down laughing, too, looking fine. He took two steps and graced the desert with his breakfast.
Was that bravery? I’m not afraid of heights, airplanes, high winds, or hunky Swedes, so I don’t think so, but other people do.
I watch some scary movies, crouched back in my seat, trying to muffle gasps and screams, but fully watching. Other scary movies are peeked at through the fan of my hands or merely listened to from the floor of the car after I’ve slid down from my seat to hunker under the dashboard. Just ask Melissa Crandall! Ah, darlin’, we went to the drive-in, can’t remember the movie. “It’s Alive?” Or was it the remake of “The Thing” with Kurt Russell? Good movie, but lots of parts I couldn’t watch. I will never watch or even listen to the original “Exorcist” movie again – too disturbing on too many levels, scared the shit outta me!
The first “Alien” movie – awesome! We walked out to the car laughing and chatting about our favorite parts…and checked every nook and cranny to make sure no “face-huggers” leaped out at us. I turned on every light in the apartment and left them on, still couldn’t go to sleep. The phone rang, yep, girlfriend was in the same state of delicious fear.
Now, I have never seen the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and don’t want to. The trailer freaked me out. One: Chainsaws – loud, dangerous, noisy, did I mention loud? Two: deformed, masked, crazy mutant guy. Three: Women portrayed as blonde bimbos just lying there screaming. Add the very real childhood memory of having someone leap out of the dark to do god-knows-what to you and, yeah, you’ve hit some of my Fear buttons.
When we first moved to Tucson, AZ, Old Tucson Studios went all out for Halloween. (My fav holiday, then Christmas, but the rest of ’em, eh.) By that time, the sound-stage had burned down and the place was mostly an amusement park. I’m not sure, but I think the last movie filmed there was “Geronimo.” It was still a wonderful place to experience and the Halloween theme/party of “Nightfall” was a blast!
The three kids were teenagers by then and not used to the desert climate. In October, it can be hot during the day, but when the sun goes down, it gets cold! I was the only one with a jacket because I’m always cold, and I shared it with our daughter – stylishly dressed in the teen girl uniform of short shorts and a tiny tee my mom (and husband!) would have called lingerie! Our sons were a bit better off in jeans and T-shirts, gallantly doing their best to imitate their father – who seems to have stone skin – but they were rubbing at their arms.
We still had fun; only noticing the cold when we had to stand in line for a show or ride. Then, one of those rotten, er, sweet kids saw the “Fun House.”
“Let’s go in there. We’ll take our time and warm up.”
Okay, I could do the fun house; I hadn’t been in one since my own teen years, but sure, I’m game (Husband, wise man that he is, declined and waited outside). I don’t mind the swaying, dipping floors or the spinning tunnel you have to walk through, and I don’t freak out about spiders and cobwebs. The crazy mirrors are funny; I like the one that makes me look tall and skinny! But. I hate the dark inside buildings, hate flashing lights and creepy fingers brushing across my skin. I was getting a little freaked.
Then we stepped out of the dark corridor into a wide-open, empty area that looked like the inside of a black canvas circus tent. It was well-lit, too. I stepped to the fore with a smile. “Oh, looks like we’re at the exit.” Indeed, we could see an open tent flap across the space. Now, remember, I’ve never been in this kind of “fun” house, and the kids are behind me. I can’t see the boys smirking and our girl rolling her eyes…
We got to the center of that space and…ROAARRR!!! “Yarrrgghhh!!!” From behind a curtain, a screaming masked mutant seven feet tall (Hey, I was scared!) and wielding a huge growling chainsaw leaped at us, at me! I shrieked, reached behind me, and THREW the first child I grabbed at the monster. Then, I ran.
The chainsaw was silenced, allowing a lot of very loud laughter to billow out of that tent. I cowered behind my husband, only just realizing I had sacrificed my youngest son to save myself. What kind of horrible mother does that?! The three of them strolled out of that tent with the unmasked mutant, laughing their asses off. The man clapped my husband on the shoulder, saying, “That is something I’ve never seen! Sure wish someone coulda got a picture!” He walked away while the kids gleefully revealed my terrible sin. “She just tossed Jim to him! Good thing there’s no chain on the saw!” Oh. My. God. I apologized profusely to my baby boy (who, at thirteen, stood almost as tall as his dad and was built like a football quarterback) and he laughed it off. I was mortified, shaking, riding the guilt train for the rest of the night, and, hoping, oh dear god, hoping, this incident would NOT be a story repeated for years to come.
But, it is. They all tell it and the listener always stares at me and says, “You did WHAT?!” Sigh. I can laugh it about now and share it, but, yep, there’s your proof — I’m sometimes brave and daring, but I didn’t just run from the monster – I gave him my beloved son to save my own ass! Yep, so, sometimes, I’m a coward to the core.