When I was in college, my roommate and I were the very fortunate recipients of free cable. We had lived in the apartment for a few months before I had the notion to hook up my grandmother's old television to the little cable hook-up coming out the wall in the hopes it would act as an antenna. It worked. Oh, did it work. Free cable! We almost called to make sure we weren't being charged, but then realized that was just the Lord wanting us to turn ourselves in.
I'd never had cable before that moment. I didn't grow up in a house where cable was even available to be had. No no. My parents waited until I moved out of the house to get cable. They never did get call waiting. Something about the probability of them never receiving a single phone call stopped them from getting it. Like I would really have clicked over and told a friend of my parents' "You know...I'm on the other line talking to my friends about this girl who was talking about one of my friends and my friends are all like 'You can't talk about our friends and we're all like...well, you know...can I just have my dad call you back?" Yeah. That would've happened.
So needless to say, we were excited. Until...that fateful day when...I came across...Robert Stack and his fucking Unsolved Mysteries. For crap sake, put a warning on that stuff. Good God. I was so completely terrified. It was an episode about a little girl who would occasionally ask her mom if she could go outside and play with someone; someone who turned out to be a dead man who had lived in her house or something. He showed up at the door with a bloody hand. And then a mean ghost showed up. They moved. Yadda yadda. I'm sure that girl is a freaking MESS today.
I finally changed the channel and my roommate came in from class to find me curled up on the couch watching the television through the holes of a quilt.
"What are you doing?" she asked.
"Trying not to watch this show," I informed her.
"What's wrong with it?"
"It's scaring the shit out of me."
"So, change the channel."
"I did. But it's still there. When I'm watching Young and the Restless it's still there. Just because I changed the channel doesn't mean it's gone away. It's there."
"I have to know what happens."
Well, The Sixth Sense is on right now. I saw this in the theater with a guy I knew from the bakery where I worked during massage therapy school. I ruined the movie for everyone around me fifteen minutes into it. "He's dead. No one else is talking to him and he's got the same outfit on." People were...pissed. And even though I figured it out straightaway, I couldn't sleep for a month. I had to call my date and have him walk up to my place and sleep on my couch. That's how afraid I was. Sadly, I'm letting this show air right now in my home. Even though I've seen it, it's on regular television, there are commercials and a lot of the stuff has been cut out I still cannot look at the screen half the time.
I have laundry to do tomorrow. It's in the basement of my building. My building is haunted. Everyone who lives here/has lived here confirmed it. In our basement is a closed off tunnel to the Underground Railroad. The inspiration for The Great Gatsby lived here. It's a beautiful creepy building. Every time I'm down there doing laundry I can feel someone staring at me. And when you run up the stairs, it sounds like someone is running after you. Fright. En. Ning.
I hope to one day get over my fear of basements and the dark. My dad used to say, to family (hopefully not to his friends) "If we didn't keep some toilet paper upstairs, she'd just go without." My babysitters' children used to scare the crap out of me when I was a kid and tell me that The Boogeyman was wherever we weren't so they didn't have to chase me. I want to be strong and brave for the baby girl. I certainly don't want her to come into my room one night saying, "There's something under my bed," to which I would reply, "Yeah, I know. I don't know what the hell you're doing in there by yourself."