Sunday, March 28, 2010
I watched a movie called "The Vanishing" years ago and it still haunts me because of one scene alone: a woman is buried alive. I'm not truly claustrophobic, but I can't stand being held down or stuck in a cramped, confined place. I sleep with my feet out from under the covers, even when it's cold. If my husband sits on the bed while my legs are under the covers, I completely freak. Completely. When I was a kid, I remember (though barely), my older brother putting me in a box and swinging it around while I screamed and he laughed and laughed and laughed. Soooo funny to terrorize younger siblings. I blame my claustrophobic leanings completely on him. (He's also the one who killed my pet rabbit, Mr. Fluffy, while forcing me to watch, but that memory is another post entirely. And no, rabbit does not taste just like chicken! It tastes like RABBIT!) (Oh, and that "game" you play where you lick your fingers and slap someone's forearm until welts appear? Also not fun, okay, Danny?)
Where was I?
Oh... so, yes, the movie disturbed me and continues to. Keifer Sutherland starred in a remake that wasn't nearly as haunting, perhaps because it was in English. Subtitles make everything more frightening, don't they?
This past week, my fear of cramped spaces was put to the test on a cruise ship. Granted, no one held me down or shoved me in a box or killed my pet rabbit (oh, wrong fear . . . sorry), but being on a boat in the middle of the ocean without a whole lot of open space that doesn't end in drowning? Close enough for me. I've been spelunking and loved it (okay, so mainly I love saying that word: speLUNking), but I knew I could exit the cave and, voila, room to run and roam.
Here's what I realized (among other things): I'm not a people person. Okay, so it wasn't so much a realization as a reminder. I like people--in small doses and preferably with more clothes on than a too-small g-string (which they all are, people!!) or a speedo. I like a few people at a time, sprinkled throughout my day or week for flavor so I can get to know them, talk to them, learn about them. I don't like them heaped onto my plate all at once, which is only a recipe for heart disease, because, seriously, my blood pressure is insane when I'm in a crowd.
And I like watching people. They fascinate me. But I don't likebeing watched or noticed. The idea of being invisible is really cool to me. I wouldn't follow you into your bathroom or watch you get dressed. I'd just, you know, pay attention to what you eat or how you talk or whether you bother smiling when no one is around or how many times you roll your eyes when you think no one is looking. Creeped out yet? Sorry. Maybe one of those two-way mirrors would be better, huh? Less frightening even with the subtitles?
I even love people: my friends, my family, Robert Downey Jr. And I'd happily hang out for days on end with any of them . . . just not on a cruise ship. Because, really, we all need to get away from each other now and then, don't we? Be honest. And if we're limited to eight stories and 855 feet from end to end, we're going to feel a little cramped--especially if we're not drunk or at least a tad tipsy or eager for 3000-calorie meals four times a day.
I'm not slamming cruises here or people who go on cruises and love them. And I didn't hate my vacation, so I'm not asking anyone to wail for me: "Yes, poor Bobbie; she had to endure a 5-day cruise to Mexico with her family."
I simply would rather not be buried alive--or at sea--particularly if I'm still alive.
(And just pretend I'm not watching, okay?)