Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Horror Movies and the Bathroom Effect

(Note- Mere hours after having sworn never to put my best friends in a blog, I find myself needing pseudonyms for them. Ladies and gentlemen, please meet my best friends, Jamie & Shawn and Lana & Erik.)

I am scared of everything.

I rented my first horror movie with my best friend when we were in grade 6. It was called "Do Not Open till Xmas", and was about a mall Santa Claus with anger issues and an impulse control problem. I had nightmares about Giles, the crazy Santa, for years. Since then, I have seen virtually every horror/suspense/slasher flick I can get my hands on. I read every Stephen King book the instant it comes out, and repeat ghost stories like they're gospel. All of this, over the last 24 years, has given me a seriously screwed up way of viewing the world.

I am 36 years old, and still need to turn on the light ahead of me before I extinguish the light behind me. I never put my feet right next to the bed when I get in- I always do a little hop so I clear the scary dark space. When I hear a noise at night, I try never to open my eyes to see what it is- you never know what might be looking back at you. I don't dangle my hands over the sides, and I NEVER sleep with my feet outside the covers.

I have sat quivering on the couch when the power went out during Nightmare on Elm Street (Seriously? What kind of bad timing is THAT???), and had to wait almost 45 minutes before Jason came to rescue me, because I had to call for him in a whisper- anything louder than that and Freddie would have been able to pinpoint my location and that would have been the end.

Jason recently suffered an injury and had to sleep on the couch for 2 weeks (he wasn't able to get up & down stairs). We had seen Paranormal Activity days before it happened, and I slept with the light on until he was able to get up to the bedroom again. I didn't get any rest for 14 straight days, but considering that the alternative was madness and death, it was a small price to pay.

Jason never has as much fun as any OTHER couple out camping, because I know what happens to loose women in the forest. I've seen that movie a thousand times. No way am I risking it. It took till I was 34 years old just to be able to use an outhouse at night without having someone in there with me, holding a lantern. (And even at that, it needs to be a flushable toilet. I am not risking my life simply because my bladder is full. I can wait. Weeks, if need be. I know what lurks down there.)

This brings me to my point. I have a long history with camping bathrooms (you will hear about this in a future blog, I'm sure), and between my love for scary movies and my overactive imagination, it usually makes for an interesting trip.

Years ago, on our very first extended camping trip with our best friends, Jason had to stay in town and work for the first few days. This worried me a bit, because we were tenting at the time, and therefore without a bathroom and at the mercy of the campground. Jason usually scares away the boogeymen for me, but I was on my own.

To my relief, the bathrooms were actually quite nice. As you came in, there was a row of about 5 toilet stalls on one side of you, and on the opposite side was a row of sinks. These were followed by a row of shower stalls, raised about a foot off the floor so that you never had to step out of your shower into a puddle of water. It made for a long 'hallway' type building, so they had placed an exit sign above the door. There were flush toilets, which meant no icky odor, the place was clean, and there was enough toilet paper. I was going to be ok. This was a camping bathroom I could use alone.

Until I went there later on. As I approached the place after dark, I realized that the exit sign that had seemed so innocently helpful during the daytime had become something malevolent and hateful at night. I slowed down and took in what I was seeing. At night, the red glow from the exit sign shone around the edges of the (ill-fitting) outside door to the bathroom, leaving the entire structure looking like nothing so much as the gateway to hell. Knowing I had just consumed FAR too much liquid to be able to wait, I began to pull the door open. As the crack between door and jamb got wider, the red light around the edges of the door got brighter and brighter, and the steam from someone's recent shower began to billow out from the opening.

I wasn't going to be able to go in there.

I went back to the campsite to explain myself to my girlfriends, Jamie and Lana, who, having dealt with me for many years, simply picked up their wineglasses and escorted me back to the can. Once my immediate issue had been solved, the three of us took a few moments to look at the effect caused by the red light and clouds of steam, and, to my surprise, agreed that yes- if there WAS a gateway to hell on earth, this is probably what it looked like.

Laughing like hyenas, we made our way back to the campsite and told their husbands my story. We discussed it ad nauseum for the next few nights until the bathroom had taken on legendary proportions, and even I was starting to feel a little foolish. (And trust me- I do not embarrass easily!)

And then, late one night, as Jamie's husband Shawn wandered over to the bathrooms before bed, he started thinking about it. And he found himself slowing down, and staring at the door, then finally coming to a stop. And he couldn't do it. I had gotten into his head. Shamefaced, he wandered back into the campsite, making a beeline for the nearest stand of trees.

"Frigging Heather." he muttered, as the rest of us laughed so hard tears ran down our faces.

Apparently crazy is catching.

1 comment:

  1. So many years later...and can still make me laugh!