Last night, my husband and I put a name to a hitherto baffling fact about me: I am a huge masochist when it comes to intentionally lingering on things that terrify me out of my brain.
This isn’t the same thing as me being, say, a horror flick junkie. I don’t seek horror out. Horror just happens. Nature is terrifying! People are bewildering! Germs are everywhere and nothing is clean without a dishwasher!
When I meet horror in real life, something in me just kind of breaks. I can’t look away. This is the impulse that caused me to leave those rotting egg yolks in the covered glass dish (the ones I meant to use for the scrambled eggs that I didn’t end up making) for months, to “see what they’ll do.” That causes me to keep watching shows like Wynonna Earp. That causes me to wear my hair down on humid days because of how mystifyingly poofy it gets. That causes me to waste away the insomnia-induced hours between 11pm-4am by watching the armies of Chicagoan spiders attack each other on the battlefield that is my living room window.
Whatever the function behind this impulse, here are some other things, in no particular order, that horrify me so much that I can’t stop watching.
Spiders making webs
The current political climate
Inexperienced drivers trying to parallel park
That one time I watched a spider crab poke a moray eel in the face with its 4 ft long claw for about two hours at the Shedd Aquarium
A toddler throwing a tantrum
People who chronically destroy movie quotes by misquoting them
This video of a woman snuggling a moray eel that is literally as big as she is
Pretty much anything about eels, actually
My husband touching a dirty sponge without gloves and then continuing on with life like it’s no big deal
People who have never been to California saying that California’s not that great
A bottle of red wine in a refrigerator
Copies of “No Fear Shakespeare”
I don’t know why this impulse to linger on inexplicably disturbing things exists. I don’t know why I listen to it. I just have to look.
Maybe if I keep looking, spiders will become less scary, and sea creatures will stop moving like the worst kind of nightmarish alien. Maybe everyone will realize how No Fear and Sparknotes are everything that’s wrong with our educational system. Maybe Trump’s twitter will begin to actually make sense. Maybe everyone will stop fighting, and will wash their hands after using the bathroom or riding a train or touching the kitchen counter.
Maybe my fascination with the horrors of the world around me is really just a case of severe optimism. I’m not being masochistic, I’m daring the world to do better!
Or maybe I’m having a long-overdue nervous breakdown that manifests in googling “frilled shark” once every two or three weeks. Your guess is as good as mine.