Becoming a mom makes you realize that your parents are just people too. People who don’t have all the answers and don’t know what the future holds any more than you do. You realize that it was all a ruse to try and give you some sense of security and structure.
Becoming a single mom (sometimes even a year or so before the ex actually becomes an ex) makes you realize another whole set of truths. One of which is that you have to check out weird noises in the night yourself. You have to look under the bed for monsters and come up with a reasonable explanation for the things that go bump in the night, even if you yourself are scared shitless.
It stands to reason therefore that you would try to avoid getting yourself into a panicked or fearful state because there is no one but you to make it better again afterwards.
This is part of why I try to avoid scary movies, ghost stories and newspapers.
Every couple of months though, I forget all of my solemn oaths around never again watching a scary movie, and I go ahead and watch one. After all how bad can it really be? I am sure that all I remember of the shining is the brilliant cinematography? I was eleven when I watched Night mare on Elm street and it probably wouldn’t scare me now. Right?
So they bring out a new Brad Pitt movie. It happens to be a zombie movie, and I think to myself, come on! How scary can it be? What more can they throw at me? My ex was super in to zombie movies and I am sure Hollywood can’t have changed the recipe that much that I would be seeing anything new.
So come Friday night I rent a copy of the new ‘zombie movie with hot guy’. I get the kids off to sleep and settle onto my bed to watch it on my old PC.
The first few minutes seem okay so I stick it out. Mistake. By the time I am covering my eyes and yelling “no, no don’t go in there, you’re going to die you dumb bastard” at the screen it’s too late. I am already sucked into the story. I am morbidly hoping for a happy ending and I can’t stop watching now and leave this poor character in his predicament. He can’t make it through alive without me!
So I finish the movie.
The moment the credits come up I jump up to turn it off and remove the disc from the machine in case it somehow leaks evil white noise into my home.
I then turn on all the lights, make a cup of tea and start giving myself a little pep talk.
You weren’t scared before the movie, what makes you think that just because you watched it something is now going to jump out and get you?
I hear my youngest stirring. I know that I have to run and get his dummy back into his mouth if I want him to stay asleep. But I am suddenly scared to cross the dark house. I turn on the light and I immediately think, “oh shit, what if that just alerted them to where I am?”
Basically I am scared shitless. For the next couple of nights I convince the kids to sleep in my room and I make sure that we all sleep with our shoes nearby and we just happen to have handy back packs of essentials strewn around the house. My petrol tank is holding as much fuel as my budget will allow.
After a few days I realise that I am being completely ridiculous and go back to normal life. I also make a solemn oath to never again watch a scary movie.
Until a few months later when I do it all again. And all in the name of entertainment.