There was a time when I was keenly aware of how much electricity I used: None. For nine months, I lived so far off the grid in Nepal the very idea that an invisible power could travel through skinny lengths of flexible metal to make a flame-free fire that could light up the night seemed nothing short of magical.
I am afraid of the dark. And this time of year, there’s a lot of it. My fear is perfectly rational. I’m not some scaredy cat who dreads monsters lurking in the closet. Except for one particularly poor fashion choice of 1982 that shall haunt me for the remainder of my days from a fine wooden hanger because I know what I paid for it. Too much.
I have a friend who was hooked on makeover shows. She still talks about an episode in which a hairstylist was about to cut the blond dreadlocks off a girl's head and instead leaped backwards as though she were staring down Medusa's snakes.
I was never one for haunted houses. Real life held enough terror. My first grade teacher wore a frightening black habit with wispy veils that floated behind her like shadowy spirits. Around her waist hung a giant rosary, a brass key ring, and full-size scissors on a long metal chain as though she might, on a whim, snip off a child’s nose. She clanked when she walked like the ghost of Marley.
My kid wanted a dollhouse. She may as well have asked for a pink sparkly dress to compete in a Honey Boo Boo beauty pageant. A dollhouse? I was of the generation that equated domesticity with lobotomy. I wanted more for my daughter.
Around this time of year, body parts start showing up in my neighborhood. It’s a nice neighborhood. The bloodied hands clawing their way up from shallow graves are top quality. The disembodied heads smiling from porch swings never bore strangers with talk of their obvious extreme separation issues. Once, a single severed ear appeared on the front lawn of a homeowner with minimalist tastes and a thing for David Lynch.