my greatest fears have always revolved around the prospect of something happening to me while i sleep.
that man in a blouse and bearing a saber who was going to sever my hands at the wrist if, as an eight year old, i didn't excel in ballet? he wasn't going to do that while i was awake. thus, i slept on my stomach, fists balled into my chest so that the musketeer would have to roll me over and wake me and i would, therefore, be aware of my plight.
those chickens that crawled into the beds of unsuspecting married people and shoved boiled eggs up the women? they didn't come out until every eye was closed.
i've tended to present this line of thinking as evidence of my crackpot childish over-imagination, but actually, it isn't. it was precipitated by a very specific event.
my family has this tradition of going to the local theater every christmas. usually for the lion, the witch, and the wardrobe. sometimes for peter pan. once, in 1985, for a christmas carol.
either we were mistaken for visiting dignitaries or it was an unusually small production because we were given seats in the very front row. and, since four-year-olds are decidedly not dickens' demographic, i promptly fell asleep.
so i can say with some authority that there is nothing more frightening in all the world than waking up to find the resurrected ghost of jacob marley staring you in the face.
i was four and responded in the way that most four-year-olds and dogs in threatening situations do. i peed.
and so it began.
for the next two years my parents and i would engage in an epic nightly battle over my going to bed. because it was easier to make a spectacle than risk awaking to a ghost, i would tear through the house like a banshee, a whoosh of pink polyester nightgown accompanied by a poltergeist scream. all these years later, my father can still approximate the sound of my 45 pounds slamming into their closed bedroom door at half past midnight.
i HATE a christmas carol. and there aren't too many things that i hate in this world. intolerance, shredded coconut, birds and a christmas carol. that pretty much sums it up.
unfortunately, it's that time of year again. when every corner of chicago boasts a poster publicizing the goodman's production and my father always asks if we should plan to go when i am home. um... no.
even now, 25 years removed from that damn play, i'm still a troubled sleeper at best and i HATE a christmas carol for that, because i'm pretty sure it is to blame. for the man in the blouse. for the birds in the bed. and most especially for the fact that, thanks to the doctor in college who told me a stuffed animal might be "a source of restful comfort," i am a 29-year-old woman in a long-term relationship with a 26" winnie the pooh.