Scaredy-Cat

July 4, 2011 Comments Off on Scaredy-Cat

I freely admit that I am a wimp. I hide under blankets when a wasp gets into the apartment and if I have to sleep on the floor I will be sure to mention the next day that I can feel it in my hips, and generally I take steps to avoid drudgery, hardship, and pain. Acknowledged. I am also a scaredy-cat. But people tend to lump this in with the aforementioned avoidance of drudgery, hardship, and pain, which I admit may be logical, but in fact that is not the case.

My mind works in such a way that I am perpetually presented with thoughts that frighten me—no nightmares, but frequently trouble getting to sleep. Case in point: Last night we watched American Psycho, which was a very good movie, but I could barely handle it. The images of the really terrible scene—much of which I didn’t even watch—were dissolved in the stuff of my thoughts, like urine in a kiddie pool, and so at any given moment there was a certain amount of unbearable gory images drifting through my head and superimposing themselves on my surroundings. It’s not the kind of thing where I “just have to man up”; in exactly the same way you can’t concentrate when you have a song running through your head, I can’t sleep when I have images of plastic-wrapped corpses hanging in closets running through my head. Call me crazy.

So what’s going on with everyone else? What is different inside the heads of people who can go straight to sleep after watching movies about stone angels and serial killers? Is it that they don’t photographically remember the images from the movie? Or can they seal it off like a flooding compartment on a submarine? Or don’t they care? Maybe my imagination is too active, and likes to photographically recreate images, regardless of the quality or subject matter. Maybe I wouldn’t see them at all except for this obsessive tendency to remember, the way a paranoid traveler keeps checking for his passport.

It’s frustrating! It was a really interesting movie and I have a lot to say about it, and I don’t want to be shut out of interesting movies just because they have disturbing images in them. On the other hand, I would probably have survived just fine without seeing this particular movie. It’s just hard for me to explain to people I’m not close to that I can’t see a movie “because it’s too scary.” Even to myself I sound like a five-year-old. Or a cheerleader. But that doesn’t apply to my family, I guess; Derek just probably should not have asserted to my face that American Psycho was “not creepy.” I mean, come on, now. Seriously.

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