Monday, August 25, 2008

Why I Hate the Violin

There is no gentle way to put it, I've always been a fraidy cat, it comes from a well-developed imagination with pretty sharp visualization skills. I lived a very protected life, but had a firm belief that something terrible was lurking.

When I was a junior in high school, I was taking a sign language class at the community college, it met at night, and if you have ever seen a Minnesota Night in the school year, you will realize that it is dark, and it gets dark early. I was lucky to have a guaranteed parking place, because my dad taught at the college and had a parking sticker. I was lucky that the building the class was in just happened to be near the parking lot that Dad always used...but it also meant that I was the only student that parked in that lot, so that meant I was the only student who would walk out into that parking lot after our three hour class of frustrated silence. The teacher parked in that lot, but there was always someone holding her after class asking questions, and even if there weren't we never parked right next to each other... and she was deaf, and I didn't carry a flash light.

That year, I was training to compete in a Music Listening Contest put on by my beloved Minnesota Public Radio. I was memorizing facts, and names, and I listened to the CD over and over again so I could name the composer, the name of the piece, and the year it was composed. I had to be able to do that from hearing any 30 seconds of the song. I had recorded the CD to a cassette tape, because those were the days when they hadn't figured out how to put cd players in cars yet. I had the tape in the stereo of "my" gray Mazda 626. I drove and listened, I quizzed myself. I loved it when it rained because if I turned the wipers on at the right time the swish and click would be in rhythm with the baroque piece.

Back to the frustrated silence. This particular night, class had ended, and I left the group of students to go to the parking lot where only the farmers, and the crazy public radio DJs parked. Now, I listened to the community radio, I loved it, but I never wanted to run into any of the DJs in a dark parking lot. I walked/jogged to my car, with my key in hand. I unlocked the door. I jumped in, checked the back seat to make sure no crazy person was waiting there for me to be surprised, then locked my door. I put my key in the ignition, glad to be in the safety of my maroon interior Mazda 626. I turned on the ignition, I heard the click of the cassette player.

Screaming violins! Screeching, screaming, yelling for help while they were being stabbed repeatedly through a shower curtain.

I had never seen the movie. I hadn't even seen that part of the movie. But, I knew that it was the first time violins had been used in that manner to create a believably terrifying movie moment. As I fumbled to turn off the stereo I told myself, "I hate Bernard Hermann, Psycho Shower Scene, 1960." (Time may have tainted the exact thing I said to myself because it involves a number which might actually be 1959.)

I drove home in silence, afraid to try to get the radio because I was sure I didn't have nimble enough fingers to turn the dials fast enough.


Mindy said...

Hahahaha. That is hilarious. Your car scene sounds like me at that age. I wonder if I was any more scared in life because I hung around you. I mean, I can get pretty paranoid...checking the back of the car once you get in. However, you should do a quick eye-sweep to make sure no one is there BEFORE you get in your car. I love the violin. This might have ruined it for me too though. How creepy!

emilysuze said...

I had to laugh at your post! I'm sorry for your scary violon experience though!

Tammy Lorna said...

I always checked the back seat BEFORE I got into the car...

Thanks for taking the time to tell us the story - I always really enjoyed the way you write and love reading your blog :)

xo Tammy

jbroclayto said...

I just read this at random, SO SCARY! You paint a good picture.
I always check the backseat too. You never know. I have nightmares about it too. That I see their eyes in the rear view mirror and I don't know what to do. worst. Fear. Ever.