1. This only applies when it’s night time, but if there’s tiny sliver of an opening between blinds that leaves a little visibility into your home, it automatically feels as if someone has to be out there lurking, watching your every move.
2. Attempting to kill a bug, but not being able to find the remains. It seems that in television and film, if you don’t actually witness the antagonist’s death, or see it’s lifeless body scooped up by toilet paper, and flushed down a toilet, there’s a great possibility that it’s still alive.
3. When the person driving in front of you discards their cigarette butt out of their window, and you imagine its ashes somehow flying up into the engine or muffler, igniting your entire vehicle into flames.
4. When you’re walking past or standing in front of people, and they start laughing. Something about laughter happening behind you makes it feel like it’s got to be regarding you, and you alone. This is basically how it goes. You walk in a place, hear a bunch of hehe, hahas and think:
What the f-ck is so funny? Am I laughably hideous? Is my walk stupid? Am I a bowlegged, pigeon-toed freak? Do I have poop on my jeans? Oh, God – did I poop my pants? No, no way, I haven’t done that in years. What could it be? Geezus, they’re laughing again. Is someone doing standup comedy in here? Nope, no standup going on — they’re definitely laughing at me and my entire physical appearance. Is it this shirt? Is plaid out? Was plaid ever in? Is it because I’m not wearing pink on a Wednesday? Ahhhh, ANXIETY OVERLOAD! ANXIETY OVERLOAD! SYSTEM FAILURE!
(ALL OF THIS NERVOUSNESS is multiplied tenfold when the giggling perpetrators are also speaking a foreign language.)
5. Anytime the plane you’re riding on makes any noise at all. I suppose pure silence would be just as alarming as a big boom, but every little rattle, hiss, bang and clank makes me remember Final Destination, Flight and every other movie that features malfunctioning airplanes.
6. Noticing that the car behind you has been going the exact same route as you for a few minutes. Even when I realize that I’m far too well behaved and unimportant for anyone to have a reason to follow me, I wonder if a psycho killer has selected me at random, or a member of some mafia has mistaken me for their target.
7. When a ceiling fan is just a little too shaky to be comfortable remaining under the radius of.
8. When kids or dogs stare into the distance like they see something/someone that we don’t.
9. Steamy post-shower mirrors. You want to wipe the fogginess away so that no ghosts have an opportunity to show off their penmanship, writing “YOU’RE DEAD,” but you’ve seen enough horror flicks to know that immediately after wiping the mirror down, some sort of dark, eerie antagonist will appear behind you in the reflection.
10. Basically anytime I remember that I have a webcam built into my laptop. Immediately after, I think, “Hey, someone, somewhere is probably watching me right now.” Then I put on a shirt and stop eating my Greek yogurt so sloppily.
11. Having a foot dangling off of the bed or standing next to a bed. Because obviously some demon or monster is going to snag you by the ankle and drag you down to hell, or a pitch dark, damp room with a looping tape playing nothing but Gilbert Gottfried repeating the word “moist.”
12. Paying with a debit card on a date. I can’t tell you how many times my bank card has malfunctioned and simply decided not to work when there were adequate funds in the account, but there’s no way of making this look anything less than humiliating when it happens. We can explain how we just got paid, or adamantly inform everyone that we know there’s money in the account, but the damage is done the instant our swipe is rejected. Having cash is the only real guarantee.
13. Phone calls from blocked or unknown numbers. Are you a bill collector? Are you an ex? Are you going to tell me you’re a murderer and you’re currently somewhere in the apartment? These are the rare occasions where I’m comfortable utilizing the ignore button.
14. People not responding to messages that I know were sent/read. Please, take a second to write me back so that I can move on with my day, not worrying that you and everybody else in the world hates my parents for having me.
15. This one might seem somewhat preposterous, but when shampooing and conditioning, obviously you have to close your eyes, right? Well, for some reason, I feel like those moments with impaired vision are the seconds in life when I’m most vulnerable to be murdered. Absurd? Probably. Something that crosses my mind every time I lather up my luscious locks? Absudlutely.
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