261. As a child, I used to fluctuate between sleeping with the door open or close. The argument I made to myself was “Would I rather see whatever was coming down the hallway to get me or would I rather hear them open door and pretend to be asleep?” I think I settled on the latter
As a child, my father used to let me watch whatever I wanted on television. I don’t think he had a concept for what was a “PG” movie and what was a “R” movie. Maybe he didn’t see anything wrong with a eight-year old watching movies with violence and/or nudity. Maybe he just didn’t care. Whatever the reason, I took full advantage.
I loved watching horror movies. After my parents went to bed, I would quietly turn on the little television in my room, turn the volume low and watch vampire and werewolf movies. When we got cable television in the den, I would sneak downstairs and watching Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween in the dark by myself. I even got my father to take me to see A Nightmare in Elm Street 4: The Dream Master when I was 11 years old. Kids in the neighborhood thought I was weird.
I was never scared by the movies themselves. Mostly, I was just entertained. I found the later Freddy Krueger movies hilarious. I could always rationalize why the movies weren’t scary. Jason Voorhees only killed campers. Freddy only killed people who lived on Elm Street. Michael Myers was where I found a problem. The scariest thing about the Halloween films was he would always just appear out of the shadows. You would walk into a dark hallway or room. It would look empty and then his mask would slowly peek out behind you. That may have been more than my young mind could handle.
When it was time to go to sleep, sometimes I would see Michael Myers in every shadow. I would try to close my eyes but I would hear every single tree rustling in the wind or think I’d hear something in the house. It also didn’t help that I could hear my brother’s television in the next room. When it became too hard to fall asleep, I tried to decide how would prefer to be murdered. The kids in the neighborhood were right. I was weird.
The first idea was to sleep with the covers over my head so I couldn’t see or hear it coming. Frankly, it was just too hot to sleep like that. Then I started sleeping with the door closed. You couldn’t open my door without making a lot of noises. So hypothetically, if someone were coming to get me, I’d know. The problem with that is sometimes my father would enter the room to check on me. The sound of the door opening would send a jolt through my system and I couldn’t sleep for the rest of the night.
The only solution was the sleep with the door open. I would go to bed staring down the hallway until I fell asleep. Sometimes, I’d think I saw something and turn on my old nightlight just to check. It wasn’t a full proof plan because sometimes my brother would come home late and unintentionally scare the crap out of me.
I don’t know how long I did this but a lot longer than I’d like to admit.