One of my directives was to create a list of critical lenses with which I'll examine how fear plays a role in our lives. Each lens will be paired with an experience of my own. These are still tentatively titled, but it looks like the lenses will be: the thin divide between fear and pleasure, the social aspects of fear/role of the media, the body's role in how we experience fear, the catharsis we feel in being scared, the uncanny, and the visualization of fear versus the narrative of fear. These were all developed by Dr. Zamora and seem to cover all of the major areas I would like to address. Some may be excised depending on whether or not I'm happy with how that section turns out.
I wanted to try to develop an idea I had. I'm thinking I'll combine the uncanny with the catharsis of being scared. An experience I'll attempt to pair this with is when my best friend Anthony and I would sneak out of his house and one o'clock in the morning. I would sleep over his house every weekend, normally going to bed extremely late if at all. One night we got the idea to sneak out and explore the town.
The first step in beginning our journey was getting past the gatekeeper, which took the form of a large cowbell that hung from the breezeway door. This was easily remedied by placing a piece of tape inside the bell to prevent it from waking up the whole house. Eventually our early morning jaunts were ended when we forgot to remove the tape one time. Anthony's grandmother wondered why her bell wasn't working and quickly discovered the cause. To save his own skin, Anthony ratted me out as the culprit who liked to sneak out after he had fallen asleep to meet up with my girlfriend. Some best friend.
The reason our excursions felt uncanny was because of how still everything was. Normally busy roads were deserted. Sidewalks were devoid of people. What normally bustled with life was now completely still. It seemed odd that traffic lights still worked, even though there wasn't anyone there to wait. The world was carrying on even though no one (but us) was there to see it. It isn't often that you find yourself the only person around, witness to the world moving on.
Every once in a while we'd see headlights. Eventually we turned it into a game of running from the car for as long as possible, diving for cover at the last minute. We'd try to outdo each other with the method with which we hid; one time I almost jumped over the railing of a small bridge, chickening out at the last second. In our minds, any car we saw out belonged to an authority figure who could get us trouble. It never occurred to us that only weirdos were out that late.
We ventured into the woods, completely unaware of how pitch black it would be, the moonlight unable to pierce the canopy of trees. On one of these trips I saw a chair in the pathway. It still bothers me to this day. The best way I can describe it to people is that a chair is for people to sit in, so someone must have been there to sit in it. Someone in the woods at the same time as us. I know that isn't logically sound, but it fits the definition of uncanny. Something normal (a chair) in an abnormal setting (the woods at 1 AM).
This was all done to create excitement for us. Maybe we were in danger, maybe we weren't. The thrill of potentially having something bad happen was appealing to us. It's what made us sneak out time after time. Until that damn piece of tape.