I will hold my hand up and say that the one thing that has never changed about me is my highly over-active imagination. I was born with it, and despite my most valiant attempts to get it to “grow up” it steadfastly refuses to change. The other night, for example, I was just drifting off in my (at the moment) empty house when…just outside my first floor window…I heard a noise that sounded like a brain munching zombie was in my front yard.*You know the sort of noise I mean, that arrrhhh sort of growl that they make in all the best zombie apocalypse films*
My heart galvanised itself into frenetic action, first by jumping up into my throat and then threatening to burst as the beating of the damn thing went off the f***ing chain. My imagination, already working overtime just on the zombie alone, started going through the house and counting the number of glass windows in the house and the big glass doors at the back of the house. Which are behind a fence, thank God, and…damn it
the gates not locked because the all the damn rain we’ve been having has caused the wood to swell up!
In the very brief moments where I felt sure that I was going to have heart attack number two, I did not see my life flash before my eyes. I did see one of the better known English news anchor’s looking solemnly into the camera and saying,
“54 Year-old Man Dies from Over-Active Imagination, News at Ten…
This little scenario snapped me out of my panic driven reverie and allowed me the time to actually listen properly to the “zombie growl” that seemed to be in my front garden. As my heart beat slowed, I strained to hear the growl again. I was rewarded by the sound emanating from within the bedroom versus the front garden, but, the sound was kind of far away to be in the same room. It didn’t sound right. Despite the nearness of the growl it was too muted to be coming from in the bedroom.
As I sat up in bed, I heard it once more. This time it was a bit louder and seemed to be in the bed with me. I sat on the edge of the bed and pondered this (while looking over my shoulder warily in case I found a zombie sharing my bed) when the sound made itself known once more. Only this time, wide awake and a lot more “with it,” I realised that the zombie was in my tummy.
My stomach was growling; loudly and insistently it sounded just like a slightly quieter version of a zombie’s brain munching growl. Obviously, my state of “semi-sleep” could not recognise the sound and my over active imagination did the rest. Of course, the fact that it was night-time (half one in the morning to be exact) and that I was alone in the house for the first time in over a year, helped to fuel my, still, over active imagination.
I got up and had two croissants with Proactive cholesterol reducing spread and strawberry jam. This had the desired effect of making me feel sleepy again and I went back to bed. The rest of the night was pretty much eventless, except for the odd (and I do mean odd) dream.
It makes me think of an episode that occurred when I was 8 years-old. My brother, who had made his entrance into the world a year previously, was in his cot and sleeping, said cot had several rows of wooden beads on a thick wire that could be moved. Sort of like a giant baby abacus.
The rest of the family, Mom, Dad and I were in the front room watching Get Smart. Now this show was a comedy. It starred Don Adams as a hapless and inept secret agent who, despite his obvious shortcomings, was the best spy in the world. *I did say it was a comedy* This particular episode had Adams and his sexy partner “99” on board a fog covered ship where a man with a peg leg and a cane was murdering passengers on the ship.
The sound effects department did themselves proud on the sound of old Peg Leg crossing the wooden floor of the ship. It sounded like wood on wood and combined with the eventually accompanying creepy music, it really impressed the hell out of me. So much so, that when I took advantage of a commercial break to go quickly to the toilet, it obviously preyed on my overactive imagination to the extent that when I heard what could only be peg leg coming down the hall to kill me, I freaked out.
The noise that Peg Leg was making sounded like it was right outside the bathroom door. I stood transfixed and as rigid as a bronze statue. My vocal cords refused to work. When I tried to scream out to my parents but all that came from my mouth were tiny croaking sounds. I kept trying though, for at least twenty more minutes. I would still be there if my Dad had not felt the urge to displace the Coke that he’d been drinking while watching the show.
It took him and my mother a further ten minutes to coax me into unlocking the door. They then had to explain to me that a) it was just a TV show, b) it wasn’t real and that Peg Leg did not exist, and c) the wooden sound I’d heard was my brother playing with the wooden balls on his cot. Neither I or my parents ever forgot that evening; me because it meant that I was no longer allowed to watch Get Smart until I was older and them because they found it hysterically funny.
As you can see, I’ve had a very over active imagination for some time now. Of course, I am able to calm myself down now as opposed to my parents having to do it. Which is a good thing considering that they live clear over the other side of the world, or at least the other side of the Atlantic Ocean and in the south. Sometimes though, it can be difficult to take charge of my elephantine imagination that seems to have Red Bull for blood and is capable of wiping an entire jungle out when it stampedes.
Still, I can do it and after the dust has settled I can laugh at it and wonder how on earth I can still have such a young imagination at such an advanced age. So just in case there comes a time that I cannot “calm the f**k down,” don’t be surprised if the news anchor where you live says, “54 Year-old Man Dies from Over-Active Imagination, News at Ten…
It will be me, the elephant will have won and I will be watching Get Smart somewhere in (hopefully) heaven and trying like hell to avoid old Peg Leg.
- Active Imagination (3quarksdaily.com)
- Do you know why you write fantasy? (damiengwalter.com)
- Article: Self-Imagination Can Enhance Memory in Healthy and Memory-Impaired Individuals (stoningdemons.wordpress.com)