01 October 2014

an ode to autumn

Despite what the weather in San Francisco might indicate, I consider today the official start of my favorite season. Call me basic, but I love sweaters, pumpkin spice everything, and all the readily available candy. If I could draw, I'd doodle intricate leaves swirling in gusts of wind or massive mugs of mulled cider with steam curling enticingly over the rim. But since I am utterly unable to do so, I shall instead talk about something at which I excel: scaring the shit out of people.

I'm not sure when I started this hobby of mine, but since I can remember, my first instinct whenever someone leaves the room is to determine the best place from which to jump out and scare them. I'm working on controlling that impulse, I swear. It's not going well, because I am just a bad enough person and it's so much fun.

My favorite victim is my sister, partly because she's the one with whom I've had the most opportunity and partly because it's just so easy. I don't have to put much effort into scaring this quintessential Hufflepuff, and have even managed to scare her unintentionally. That's not to say that I don't exercise my creativity and devise elaborate ways to startle her, of course.

One of the most memorable times I frightened someone involved one of my very best friends (you know who you are). We were hanging out in another friend's dorm room, and she left the room for one reason or another. As soon as she shut the door behind her, I leapt into the closet directly adjacent to the entryway and waited patiently for her return. Upon her arrival, I burst out from behind the curtain with a sudden shout.

Now, I know you're probably wondering why this is one of my favorite instances of scaring someone I love, especially considering how pedestrian my technique was. There was no finesse, no planning. But, this particular friend of mine is a treat to startle because of her reaction. Naturally, when surprised, she tenses up and moves as if to strike back (luckily she didn't punch me this time, but she did make a fist). What makes her truly special is something that I like to call the "dual scream," wherein she screams because she's scared, and then screams louder and at a slightly higher pitch because she registers that she was scared. This instance was one of the finest examples of the dual scream I've heard to this day. I doubled over from laughing and nearly peed on the floor.

While this practice can be done at any time of the year really, this season is my favorite because of the added drama that comes with costumes and a generally scary atmosphere. Once, I dressed up as Samara (the girl from The Ring) and crawled out of a dark room to scare a friend, weird contortion-y angles and all, and apparently it was convincing since I made her cry. I felt a little bad, of course, but it was really funny. The main thing you have to consider when planning to jump out at someone is your target. For instance, I have a friend that I would never dare to scare. Not only is she almost a foot taller than me and could probably snap me in half if she felt like it, but her fight-or-flight response leans more toward fight than flight. As in, she once broke an actor's nose in a haunted house. So, no thank you. I may have poor impulse control, but I'd prefer to keep my face in one piece.

Happy October! Don't get your face broken!

It's time to get spoopy, everyone.


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