Living with a teenager is quite like living with an overly opinionated, randomly emo, rather ignorant, squaking parrot who you love to bits but want to silence by throwing a tarp over.
I had a LONG discussion, just before bedtime, with TO about Annabelle. How the whole thing came about, why a doll of all things, how possession takes place, how a possessed item can go on a killing spree and how it was different from Child’s Play. Just what every mother wants for her child to dwell on before he closes his eyes for the night and dreams happy thoughts.
But I am glad that he’s asking questions and showing interest in things which have greatly entertained me while I was growing up and continue to do so even now.
While I’ve stopped going into raptures at the thought of a horror moviethon or stopped setting up playlists for Halloween and Friday the 13th, I still enjoy the silent menace of Meyers, the freakishness of Freddy and the…the…dang! There aren’t any horror adjectives that alliteratively go with Jason. Sorry dude..you’ll always be my go-to undead villain though.
Among the newer scary movies, the Conjuring-verse isn’t unique by any means but it’s well-executed. With demonic dolls, spooky spectral and nasty nuns (see what I did there? Alliterate this baby!); the series is slick, has enough creepy moments without getting into utter gore and becoming a slash fest.
I mean while buckets of blood and entrails had their allure once upon a time, nothing can beat the chill of an evil spirit advancing steadily toward someone while they’re back-up against a wall with nowhere to go! Or maybe something a bit more innocuous like suddenly seeing someone who shouldn’t be there.
But before the whole world, especially my father, starts judging me about my topic of discussion with my only flesh and blood, let me just say that time spent together with the parents in any kind of an activity that brings enjoyment, is an investment in good memories for a lifetime. Even ones with horror movies.
My memories of horror movies are mainly linked with my mother. Not because she’s demonic (the woman’s practically a saint!) but because she stuck up for me when my father used to make a noise about me watching rated-R stuff and watching people get killed by creatures/beings who keep coming back even after being killed in each installment of a series.
She didn’t mind that there would be blood and that a 10 year old would be watching something that would lead to a lifetime’s interest in the creepy and spooky. It was a fun mother-daughter activity that my father cringed at and I think that was part of the allure.
What’s funny now is looking back at the two of us, huddled on a single couch; me with a Hershey’s pudding cup in my hand and my mother covering my eyes whenever nudity came on the screen and removing her hand whenever the killing started. Because for some reason, all the serial killers, dead or undead, are pervs. They get their rocks off killing people mid-make out session. Total coitus interruptus if there ever was one.
My mom never minded seeing Jason stab someone through the gut with a harpoon or a fireplace poker for that matter. Likewise she was a-ok with Freddy putting some hapless kid’s head through the tv and putting holes in someone else’s body with this knived-gloves.
Once she saw me sit through the Exorcist and The Omen, she knew the blood and gore wouldn’t mess with my head. More importantly I didn’t do what my kid is currently doing- asking an unending series of questions about “why” someone is being killed. Why are they being killed in a particular way. Why did Pennywise eat the kids? Why does Pennywise have a red balloon? Why does he stay in the sewer yada yada yada.
I started off this post with the intent to say that it was a bit tough but terribly interesting talking to my kid about the occult. I ended up missing my mom instead. I think 2020 is turning out to be a year full of revelations. Imagine, missing a 70+ years grandma who knits and sews, whenever I watch horror movies. Slightly incongruous but then such is life. I hope TO and I get to make our own, slightly whacked-out memories in the years to come. I’d love to see his reaction to Pinhead!
TO often asks me trivia questions especially about animals. Today’s query was about a bird whose name starts with P and ends with an N and it lives on an island. I initially said penguin and got an eyeroll for my troubles. Actually I led with pigeon because where don’t those little poop machines live?
When I said Puffin a second later, a disappointed TO told me that he was sure I wasnt going to be able to guess the bird and dang it! I did and he missed out on a chance to tell me about the bird.
Since we were talking about something other than cricket, the coronavirus and screen time, I encouraged him to tell me more. And he did. His opening sentence was classic- “If you were a puffin, this is how you would look and walk and he proceeded to describe it in great detail.
Before 2009 I never would have had a thought like ‘if I were a puffin’ not even if I were profoundly drunk. And those who have seen me such will testify that barring the rare barf fest, I just show a tendency to get louder and maybe climb on tables. But be a puffin…naah!
Apparently you become a parent sentences like ‘I want to have teeth like a walrus’, ‘I want to grow up and be a dragon’ or ‘ if you were a puffin’ is all in a day’s work!
My husband isn’t a person who does a lot of things by himself for others. He doesn’t give “of” himself consistently unless it’s for his son. For TO this man does everything I expect and then some. But neither does he wait around for others to ‘do unto him’. He takes what comes his way, if he wants more, he helps himself; if he doesn’t then he doesn’t. It’s very cut and dry and without hidden messages to decipher.
A few weeks ago I told him that instead of the family road trip that we’d planned out in this month, I wanted a few days by myself. And he agreed. He did it gracefully is what I’m focusing on. ‘Me by myself’ would have meant either I go off for introspection, fun, vegetate in a place outside my home or stay put and have the home and hearth to wander around in. I chose the latter.
T.O almost exclusively travels with me. I have more time on my hands and it’s easier to align my trips with his time off from school but I’ve been wanting to make TO more flexible about where he travels, with whom and basically not get too rigid about anything in life. And the first ever father-son mini-vacay took place. They’re in Goa right now, our-once-every-year-holiday-spot while I vacay at home. And it’s been blissful.
I didn’t need to be away from them. I needed to be with me. And that’s not any feministic, soul searching claptrap. Sometimes you really don’t want to have to do anything beyond what you want to do. And I did exactly that. My indulgences consisted of switching off the daily alarms (yes..I have more than one) and just potter around the house while listening to everything from this to this. And no, I didn’t get drunk out of sheer joy. Alchohol did not touch these gabby lips once. And it’s nothing to brag about. I just didn’t feel like it.
I cooked. I sang. I did my usual minimal housekeeping because let’s face it, I don’t go on a cleaning frenzy till my folks are due to arrive and I need to maintain appearances about being a tidy housewife. But it’s been lovely and I’m actually looking forward to having these two back and hearing all about their stag trip that’s been full of fun, grilled fish and loads and loads of chatter and most of all, bonding.
So while I type this out, drink my unsweetened coffee (in your face sugar!) and sigh contentedly as the lovely cool breeze flutters the curtains all around, I’m going to go on record and say that for his services to preserving the sanity of this mother, I’m going to ease off on the nagging front with Red for as long as I possibly can. I’ll crack in a week, if that long but such gestures need a get out of jail free card and this is his.