I was always a really scared kid, and for no obvious reason. We lived in a small, safe town. We had an alarm system. We locked the doors. We had a dog. There was no real crime rate. (There were a couple state prisons a few miles down the road, but even these were somehow normal.)
Anyway, I was scared to go sleep. I was scared of the dark, too, but this was secondary to my fear of actually closing my eyes, of actually falling asleep, of actually being unconscious for eight or more hours. To combat this fear, I wouldn’t go to sleep. I would wait a while and then I would sneak downstairs and crawl behind the couch in the living room and I would watch TV a few feet away from my parents until I fell asleep on the carpet. One of them would find me, pick me up, deposit me in bed. Sometimes I didn’t even make it to the living room, and I camped out on the stairs, falling asleep with my head against the railing. Maybe I wasn’t afraid of sleeping, actually. Maybe I was just afraid of being in my bed.
This is probably more accurate, because there was a movie that came out in 1989 called Little Monsters. I think I’ve mentioned before how terrible my parents were about censorship? Right. Well, they let me watch this movie, which is about the space underneath your bed being a portal to the monster-world, when I was four. If the monsters felt so inclined, and if you’ve been so lax as to let a limb hang over the edge of your mattress, they can reach up, grab you, and pull you under.
I don’t think I’ll ever get over that one. And sometimes I still sneak out of bed. And sometimes I still check underneath, just in case.
photographs taken in Santa Monica and at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles
with a Canon 60D.