Tuesday, November 1, 2011

'Sup with Askeert?

by KAK  

Another All Hallows Eve gone. The dawn re-stitches the seams between this world and the others. Costumes are cleaned and packed away. Candy is sorted and stored.

I wave buh-bye to the #weeniece.

Sure, my four year-old niece was here a few weeks ago. A few weeks ago, she hadn't quite tumbled tip-over-toe into the grips of "I'm scared." Now, there's the "scared" of playing along with the commercialized season, and there's the bat-shit climb-out-of-her-skin stark terrified. I witnessed an unusual amount of the latter this visit.

Color me bemused.

I'm admittedly keen on Halloween, but I don't get my rocks off by scaring little kids -- particularly the ones whose sheets I have to launder. When the #weeniece visits for the autumn, it's a celebration of the season not the spooky. I see more of Ohio farms in a week than I do the rest of the year. Corn maze? Yep. Pony rides? Yep. Pumpkin patches? Everyday. House of Horrors? Not even close.

'Sup with Askeert?

I live not far from Spooky Hollow. No shit. The name of the road is Spooky Hollow. Delivery guys find it hilarious this time of year. Last year, my niece giggled endlessly whenever we were on that bendy twisty road. "Thspooky, Thspooky, Thspooky," she'd chant, begging her daddy to drive us along Spooky Hollow. This year, she became a puddle of snot and tears at the mere mention of the name. What changed in her developing brain that made something fun into something terrifying? Not the street itself. That hasn't changed in forty years. Something the adults said? We couldn't think of anything.

Makes you wonder...

No, not about the sanity of a four year-old. I'm referring to Nature vs Nurture, the development of the brain, the evolution of individual fear. What is it about things, situations, or places who've never inflicted harm to us that would cause us to fear them? Sure there are certain creatures that would logically provoke a flight-response on first encounter -- charging grizzly bears, smoking dragons, twitching roaches. Why dance with a stone gargoyle one year and faint from terror the next year?

Fear -- Not Always Rational

Do you have an irrational fear? Something that makes half of your brain think "not a threat" while the other half freaks the fuck out? I've a long list. It starts with bugs.

Picture: http://www.cartoon-clipart.com


  1. I agree with the bug thing up to a point. Some bugs I'm perfectly fine with. Honestly, as long as I can see whatever it is coming, I'm usually okay.

    It's when something jumps down the back of my neck that I tend to freak out.

    Although, I will say that the one time I was at a boyfriend's cabin, I found a mouse in the cupboard. Which would have been fine, except it jumped off the shelf when I opened the door and landed on the inside cuff of my shorts. And yes, ran up the inside seam.

    I was a little less calm then.

  2. I remember quite vividly when Lauren hit her "afraid" age. It seemed that overnight she became insanely sensitive to fairly benign stuff - which usually resulted in a sniffly midnight bed-visit. The brain is a fascinating place.

  3. bugs that buzz and/or sting are really not my favorites, but I really freak out over spiders!
    They're gross and icky and crawly and creepy and....
    The only good spider is Charlotte!

  4. Holy Crap, Allison, I'm okay with mice...right up until one of them pulled that sort of stunt.

    "Sniffly midnight bed-visit" great description, Jeffe. I was utterly grateful she'd brought along her parents for this round of "monsters in my bed."

    Sullivan, I agree! I try to restrain myself when I spot them outside, but inside? Get a shoe.

  5. I'm good with bugs. And arachnids - which eat bugs. Mice? No problem. Earthquakes? Complete, irrational mass of paralyzed hysteria. Apparently, I was crushed by one in a previous life. At least, that's *my* story.

    From the little bit of research I've done for a story, kids between 5 and 10 suffer HUGE terrors brought on by the changes in their developing brains. It seems to be the blossoming awareness that they ARE changing that summons the nightmares and terrors. My mom says that when I was a kid all of my worst nightmares would end with me shrieking that my pillow was on fire. None of us really wanted to know what that was about! :D Get #weeniece a talisman to protect her...

  6. @KAK: my owner and me always scream until the owner's OtherHalf appears to usher the spider outside. Often he captures the spider in a glass jar first to take pictures of it. totally can't understand that!

  7. Oh, poor weeniece. I'm with Marcella. She totally needs a talisman.

    I used to have a total freak out over moths. Yup, moths. Harmless little fluttering things? I say, butterflies' evil twins. :shudder: It's taken a lot of years but I did reach a point where I only panic if they touch me.

  8. Marcella, I'm all over the talisman -- once I'm certain she won't stuff it in her eye/nostril/random other place.

    Sullivan, what is it about boys and putting spiders under glass? I don't need a picture. I need a distant memory!

    B.E., Moth's offer the creepiest welcome home greeting by dive-bombing your head as you try to open the front door. I totally understand your dislike of them!