This is me...

This is me...
I'm having a mom moment....

Friday, September 13, 2013

Tonight, on Dateline....In My Head

I love Dateline.  I almost always have at least one episode on my DVR.  I think that its because it's full of drama, mystery, and intrigue and my life is pretty ordinary.  It's exciting to watch these stories about what has happened in other people's lives.  And I learn a lot about what to watch for to keep from getting scammed or kidnapped or killed, and I learn things to keep my family safe.  However, it also makes my writer's imagination run wild.

I often hear Lester Holt and Keith Morrison in my head, narrating my untimely end when I am walking alone through a parking lot in the dark, or sitting at home alone at night while the husband is at work and the kids are at Grandma's.  This may sound rather macabre, but I don't see it that way.  I see it as more of a part of my creative process.  People like me who write for a living, or for therapy, or as a creative outlet, or as an uncontrollable urge, typically have very vivid imaginations.  This can lead to a sort of "Secret Life of Walter Mitty" existence if you are not careful.
If you are not familiar with this James Thurber story, go read it (or watch the  Danny Kaye movie.)
Imagining the narrative that Keith Morrison might spin in his plangent, disembodied voice about something that I can imagine happening in my current situation is a creative exercise that gets me writing, or at least thinking about writing.

I have fed this darker side of my imagination with decades of crime dramas like Law & Order, Criminal Minds, and many other shows that have come and gone over the years.  And I read.  A LOT.  I read Patricia Cornwell, James Patterson, and Stephen King among others.  So when I find myself in potentially dicey situations, I can quickly recall literally dozens of story lines that fit.  It can really be a great tool in getting my creative juices flowing.  Unless...

Unless I am nowhere near my laptop and walking alone through a dark alley.

Then I loathe and detest my imagination.

I found myself in a situation like that last Saturday night.

I wasn't alone, but it was about 11:00, in the downtown club district of my hometown.  (VERY unfamiliar territory for me, BTW.)  I am nearly 40.  I am married, with 4 kids.  I do not go to clubs.  Even when I was younger and "went out", clubs were never my scene -- I preferred what you might affectionately call "dive bars."  I never went for thumping music and flashing lights; I opted for pool tables and James Taylor or Tom Petty played low enough to have a conversation with the person at a cue stick's length away.  But I was at a friend's bachelorette party, in a karaoke room of a local club, and another couple of friends and I were leaving earlier than the main party.  I have no doubt that we were perfectly safe, but still, this is what I heard in my head:

"It had been a fun 'girl's night out,' a rarity in the life of a suburban wife with four young children.  Admittedly, it was not her scene -- the pulsating lights and deep thumping music that could be felt in the soles of her shoes as she and her friends made her way to the side street where she'd parked her minivan.  She was dressed comfortably in jeans and sandals; not like the flashy 20-something's that balanced precariously on heels longer than the skirts that they wore.  She and her friends were laughing and talking as they approached the Chrysler with the PTA sticker proudly displayed on the back.  They were not aware of the danger awaiting them there.  They didn't know -- couldn't have known -- the horrors that were about unfold...."

This is who was speaking in my head....

I chose not to share my internal narrative with my 2 friends who walked with me.  I'm pretty sure they never would've invited me to go out in public again.  I was relieved to make it home safely...and I promptly found a Dateline episode on my DVR to watch as I fell asleep.  I know....I'm a little nuts.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yeseree! A vivid imagination is a blessing and a curse! I'm pretty much a chicken, and that has kept me safe for 6 decades!