Living alone for the past two years has led me to have some important epiphanies about myself. My most recent revelation is that I have some irrational fears. And by some, I clearly mean a lot. Here is a sample of a few of them:
- That a person is going to hide under my bed, wait until I fall asleep and then kill me (this will be similar to the Sqweegel episode of CSI …. aka terrifying).
- I will be taking a shower and will look through my glass shower door and see a hand shutting off the bathroom lights. Said person will then kill me (in the dark).
- A stranger will be watching me while I sleep and I will wake up with their face within an inch of mine. This stranger will then proceed to kill me.
- I will go to take out my garbage and while I am down the hall a stranger will quickly dart into my apartment without me noticing. I will come back and the next thing going down that garbage shoot will be my dead body.
- I will be brushing my teeth and bend over to rinse, and upon standing someone will be standing behind me and I will see their reflection in the mirror. And you guessed it, this person will then kill me.
You may be noticing a theme. Living alone in NYC has made me 100% Wuss Certifiable. I don’t know if it’s because I've watched too many episodes of Law and Order: SVU where Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler are solving the murders of twenty-something year old women who are killed in their NYC apartments …. oh wait, that’s PRECISELY the reason. It also doesn't help that I have an unexplainable obsession with horror movies. I don’t want to watch them, but I feel compelled to. If I’m flipping through the channels and see a movie that looks interesting and start watching it before realizing it’s a horror movie, I can’t help but keep watching until the credits roll. It’s like I immediately form a bond with these fictional characters, and I need to see them find their happy place again, or at the very least know how they get the ax (literally or figuratively). I imagine this characteristic would have made me quite valuable in times of war.
I have a similar obsession with ‘worst case scenario’ books. I feel better about life when I’m prepared for every potential scenario that could come my way. An alligator’s chasing you, be sure to run in zigzags because their short legs limit them from changing direction quickly. Shark attacking you, why punch him in the nose not the eyes because sharks roll their eyes back when they attack. These tips have clearly proven to be terribly useful on the streets of New York.
I guess my Girl Scout days have carried through though, because my motto remains, ‘Be prepared.’ So by reading these worst case scenario books and watching scary movies, I am getting ready for the day when something may go down. The one thing I've never understood though about horror movies is when people run up the stairs to evade the killer. I don’t need to read a worst case scenario book to know that when a killer is attacking you, do not, I repeat do not run up the stairs. I mean isn't that common sense by now? To this day it still blows my mind that Sidney made it out of the first Scream installment alive.
These horror movie scenes paired with Benson and Stabler’s exponential amount of NYC killer cases have forever left a fear imprint on my brain. Sometimes, on Halloween, when people dress up as the Scream villain I literally start to panic.
Inside the OCD mind: “I mean, at the beginning of Scream 2 everyone thought the person in the mask was just a fake too …. until they realized he wasn't joking …. and that he was killing people …. like a lot of people …. gross.”
If he/she creepy mask killer even comes near me at a bar, I throw my drink at them and immediately start to run in the opposite direction.
But honestly, when you live by yourself every sense becomes heightened. I walk into my apartment each night and it’s like my door opening is a cue for the Jaws theme to start.
“Da da (quickly scan the room)....... da da (turn on all the lights) ....... da da (take off my coat so I’m more limber in the event of an attack) ……. da da ……. da da da da dadada DADADADA ….DA DA!!!!!!!”
The music usually stops around the time I've checked out the kitchen and bathroom because in my eyes these are the most likely spots that a killer would hide. Well, that or in my closets, but I like to think that a killer wouldn't choose to spend that much time in a sea of wrap dresses and tights.
Reading all this, you might naturally assume that I have a reason to be this crazy …. I assure you, I don’t. My imagination is quite vivid, both a blessing and a curse. The most realistic feeling (non)attack that I've ever experienced happened a few months ago. I had to work late and ended up eating dinner at 11pm ….
Me: “I’ll take ‘Bad Ideas’ for $100, Alex.”
Alex Trebek: “Alright, Scardey Cat McGee, what is the worst thing you can eat right before bed?
Alex Trebek: “YOU ARE CORRECT!”
And ravioli it was, right in my belly. Feeling satiated, I was quickly lulled into a pleasant slumber until the ravioli decided to take its revenge. In the middle of the night I woke up to an image of a stranger standing at the foot of my bed. When he saw that I was awake, he said “Yeah, this is happening” and lunged to attack me. I screamed bloody murder before waking myself up and realizing it was just a dream (slash night terror). When I finally gained some semblance of composure, I still had a hard time convincing myself that it was just a dream. I drew my comforter up to my eyes and lay completely still in the event that killer man was just hiding and waiting for me to go back to sleep. Needless to say, my eyes stayed open all night.
In hindsight, I don’t know what was more upsetting about my night terror experience. The fact that I woke up with every item from my bed sprawled out all over the floor or the fact that despite my blood curdling screams, not a single person in my apartment building called the police or even checked to see if I was alive or dead. #NYCliving.
If you've seen American Psycho, then you know what I'm talking about. When my brother was visiting a few months ago, he joked that my apartment floor’s hallway looked like the hallway from the movie. While most of us watched American Psycho and couldn't help but laugh as Christian Bale chased a girl down the hall with a chainsaw, I now understand why this is viewed as such a sardonic take on NYC living. A woman is literally pleading for help with chainsaw hums providing the melody to her cries and not a single person on the floor opens their door to help her. Jaded New Yorkers may be an understatement.
I like to think that if I heard blood curdling screams in the dead of night, I would do SOMETHING. At a bare minimum I would call the police. I mean what’s one more case for Olivia and Elliot?