#12: Watch a horror film

Today I was running a bit low on energy, so took on the relatively low input challenge of ‘watch a horror film’. Oof. The most unpleasant task yet. I absolutely hate these; I sit there unable to watch, hiding behind a pillow, then find I’m traumatised for nights afterwards, so although passive, it deserved its place on the list.

I had ordered some nonsense called ‘The Orphanage’ from Amazon; it arrived today. I persuaded my other half to watch with me, and we both had a thoroughly miserable evening, sitting in front of ghosts, ghouls, death, deformity, and generally unpalatable goings on. Basically a woman goes to live at the orphanage where she grew up, taking her young son with her… the boy disappears, and it transpires that the ghosts of all the children she grew up with are still in the house and have something to do with it all… Don’t let me spoil it by saying more.

If anyone likes that sort of thing, I guess it was quite well crafted and even kind of convincing – and actually not nearly as alarming as the films I remember watching at sleepovers in my teens …. But Good Lord, I can think of about 350 things I would rather do with an evening.

The verdict: scary, horrible, psychologically disturbing, massively unpleasant. The only upside is no hangover after a Saturday night!

The orphanage

#11: Introduce myself to the neighbours

I am extremely pleased with myself today. On my mind for the last 2 weeks has been the terrifying prospect of ‘Introduce Myself to the Neighbours’. I know, I know, it isn’t exactly facing the Taliban unarmed, but I had been intending to do this as my very first one, and every day I have found an excuse not to. The flurry of random exercise classes betrays my avoidance of anything that puts me in an unpredictable social situation.

So. I told 3 people today was the day, as that made the prospect a bit more real, and meant I’d have to explain myself if I bottled out, again. Even after that, I jumped in my car and was about to head to town, promising myself I’d do it later, when I thought, ‘oh for God’s sake. Just go and do it’.

So I parked the car 10 yards from my house, and got out. I went to a house at random and knocked, (hoping no one would be in), but oh help, a man answered and looked me up and down curiously. I explained my neighbourly intentions, and all was well. In fact I was invited inside, met the dogs, and was there for a good 20 minutes, comparing tales of how we come to be living where we do; and chuckling companionably at how unpleasant my house is. Which was nice.

Flushed with success I went to another door, to find a retired couple whose children had left home; and then a third house, within which lurked a teenage girl off sick from school. I had to apologise profusely for dragging her out of bed. Lucky I didn’t go there first.

The best thing about it all, was that later in the day the wife and daughter of neighbour no. 1, came to pay me a visit in return. I was woefully underprepared for guests (we were half way through a play date and literally no corner of the accommodation was unsoiled. The children had already snacked, spread toys through every room, painted pictures, and were now happily ‘cleaning up’ in the bathroom, which they had flooded). Nonetheless I invited the company in for a cup of tea. The carnage was impossible to ignore, and I think her exact comment was ‘Well it‘s nice to see a house where children can play’. That is about the most generous interpretation that anyone could put on the level of abject squalor. I warmed to her immensely.

So now we are all the best of friends; it turns out they are not yet hugely established here themselves, and were therefore glad of the acquaintance. And as a happy by-product the daughter is of prime babysitting age, AND in need of money to fund an upcoming foreign expedition. So I think we will all get on famously!

But most importantly, the deed is done. I can move on from that one, knowing I have conquered one more mini-demon. Though I suspect I will still be delaying on the stand-up comedy attempt for as long as possible!