Sunday, October 29, 2006

Things that go bump (or bang or 35 mph)

In honor of Hallowe’en (yes, it has a frickin’ apostrophe), here are some things I find scary:

Elevator shafts
Can’t watch movie scenes in which people are trapped in/required to climb up them. It’s probably the unpredictability of the machinery (and I guess that’s why the scenes are so effective). If I were ever trapped in an elevator, and the only way to escape was by climbing through the roof and up the cables, I’d refuse. I’d take up residence in the box, and they’d have to lower supplies (perhaps a nice selection of cheeses and a bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape) to me in a basket. I wonder whether elevators have WiFi?

Roller coasters
When I was a kid, I loved fast rides. Of course, kids have no fear in general, but there was also an unspoken faith that the machines were safe because they were operated by grown-ups, and grown-ups wouldn’t allow bad stuff to happen to kids, would they? And then a few years ago we went to
Canobie Lake, which is a fabulous hundred-year-old amusement park with some rides that have been in operation since the place opened. And we decided it would be fun to go on the Yankee Cannonball, an all-wooden out-and-back coaster built in 1930. But as we waited in line, I realized that the ride operator was an acne-faced teen. And that I was putting my life in his hands. On a 70-year-old pile of wood.

It was too late to turn back (and we’d been in line for half an hour) so when our turn came, we took the next two seats. The first ten seconds of the ride were not too bad.
And then it went downhill. Literally. Bear in mind that the train’s maximum speed is 35 mph, and that the entire experience is just over a minute long. But both The Boy and I were convinced we were going to die.

It didn't help that the “safety” bar intended to prevent riders from being hurled violently from the car turned out to be well below my center of gravity (and I’m only five-three), so every sudden dip and curve lifted me out of the seat, despite my best efforts to brace myself with my knees, arms and any other body part I could wedge against the side of the car.

When the ride ended, we stumbled out, white-faced. “I saw my whole life flash before my eyes,” said The Boy.

Oh, and the next day, there was an accident on that ride. I’m just sayin’.

They pop unexpectedly. Yeah, I’m a wuss. At least I admit it.

Japanese horror films
The first one I saw was Joyu-rei (aka Ghost Actress), written and directed by Hideo Nakata a couple of years before he made Ringu. I’d never seen anything like it: the dense feeling of foreboding, the implied, barely glimpsed, shadowy terror. And because I had no idea who any of the actors were, it wasn’t even possible to guess who was likely to get offed in some grotesque way and who would make it to the end of the story.

Not that I avoid these movies in the same way I do roller coasters or balloons. I even bought a bootleg DVD of Ju-on on eBay when it first came out (of course, being a bootleg, it didn’t work properly). Maybe it’s because they don’t pose a threat to my general well-being.

Not scary so much as icky. But I do try to stay away from them.

Another Republican victory
Need I say more?

Anyway, it could be worse. I could be afraid of buttons. Or lobsters.


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