is for alien abduction.
I was a child of the eighties. I grew up with neon bike shorts and My Little Ponies and Madonna and rubik's cubes (which I solved by peeling off the stickers). My sister and I rode bikes with little plastic beads on the spokes and we played with our Popples and Barbies and Cabbage Patch Dolls. I grew up singing True Blue and eating jawbreakers.
I also grew up during the height of alien abduction hysteria.
I don't know when I first learned about alien abduction. I think that it might have been while watching an episode of Unsolved Mysteries. I'm pretty sure that I wasn't even allowed to watch that show. All I know is that this was burned into my brain:
I was scared of a lot of things - ghosts, monsters, Bad Guys - but they were all dwarfed by my fear of alien abduction. It got to the point where I was sure that I would be abducted. I had no idea what would happen after being abducted, but that wasn't what I was worried about. I was worried about the abduction itself: the spaceship and floating through the air and not being able to move. And the aliens.
My biggest fear was that I would "lose time". Losing time was the alien-y phenomenon of suddenly losing hours or minutes, which meant - of course - that you had been abducted during the lost time. I remember laying in bed next to my clock radio, checking the time every few minutes when I couldn't fall asleep.
* please note: I reused the 4-year-old clay me, but I was older at the time of this story - probably about nine or ten. But my Dad loved me in mushroom cuts, so my hair was pretty similar. To this day, he sometimes asks me why I don't get a mushroom cut.
Suddenly, laying in bed, I would find myself wondering if I'd just lost time. My heart would jump into my throat and I would lay there with my eyes squeezed shut, trying to convince myself that it was still only 9:10, that I hadn't lost time, that I wouldn't open my eyes to find that it was 10:01 or 12:14 or 3:00 (which, for some reason, seemed like it was the scariest time of all).
It would get to the point where I wasn't sure which would be scarier: opening my eyes and seeing that it was later then I thought, or keeping them closed and never knowing. Eventually, I'd give in and open one eye - just a crack - to look at the clock.
The relief would wash over me. And this time, I'd tell myself, I would keep my eyes shut.
I'm a grown-up now. I'm older and braver and more able to differentiate between fantasy and reality. And so earlier this year, I tried to watch the X-Files again. I would watch it from the start, I decided. It would be easy for me to watch it this time around!
I made it all the way to season 2, episode 5, but then I had to stop.
Because it turns out that this:
is still too scary for me.
Gah. Shudder. Go away.
This is installment one of the Clay Baboons Alphablog: 26 Things That Annoy Me, Confuse Me, Creep Me Out, or Otherwise Make My Life More Difficult.