Today is my sister Chris’s birthday. She’s good at giving gifts.
Members of my family often tell me that I’m gross. From my T-shirts to toenails, armpits to hag hairs, they like to point out that I am, essentially, a walking trash can. It doesn’t bother me because it’s true; I kind of am a walking trash can, and I’m cool widdit.
The nice thing about Chris, though, is that while she certainly teases me about my stained, hole-ridden outfits, she actually tries to help me look a little less disgusting. Whereas other siblings and siblings-in-law give me books full of awkward pet family photos or instructions on understanding rap lyrics (gifts that are still very much appreciated!), Chris gives very practical gifts. Come holidays, I can count on Chris to give me a pair of casual sneakers, some T-shirts, a couple cardigans, etc.
In return, I’d like to give her something equally practical — a blog about her favorite hobby: Scaring people.
One. Chris holds a pretty fancy title at a pretty fancy college in Pennsylvania. Like all good first-born children, Chris is a boss. I don’t know how many, but she got some peeps working under her.
During work one day, one of these peeps — a woman in her 60s, I’d guess — left her desk to go to the bathroom. Chris, realizing it was a perfect opportunity, decided to scare her. My then-31-year-old, mother-of-a-toddler, professional sister went into her employee’s office and crawled under her desk. She waited there several minutes, crouched under a desk, until her employee returned and sat down. Then she scared the 60-year-old shiz out of that 60-year-old.
Two. Chris and her husband, Matt, took me on a dope ass trip when I was studying abroad in Spain. They came during my spring break and took me to Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and Liechtenstein (I told you – she good at giving gifts. So’s Matt).
When we went to Austria, we walked up a big ole hill in order to get to a big ole castle. During the descent from the castle, I got separated from Matt and Chris. I was looking for them when I passed an elderly babushka* lady wearing rags, carrying a basket, and muttering to the cat that was following behind her.
After we passed each other, I could tell that the babushka lady had not only stopped walking, but had also turned around to watch me. I associate every European country with Dracula, witches, and gypsies (rightly so), so I immediately thought she was cursing me. Seriously. I honest-to-goodness believed this lady was putting the hex on me. After a few more steps, I learned that she was actually just waiting for a good show. Chris and Matt were hiding behind a stone wall (in order to jump out and scare me) and lady was hoping to get in on it.
Three. My family and I spent Thanksgiving 2010 at our cousins’ house in Down East Maine. My parents and other two sisters came up for the day but Chris, Matt, our cousin Petey, and I decided to spend the night up there. Our cousins’ neighbors were out of town and had said we could stay at their house.
Down East Maine is a lovely place, but there’s really not much around. The house where we were staying was down a long dirt road and surrounded by nothing except trees.
At one point my cousin Petey mentioned how it’d be an awesome setting for a scary movie — an ideal place for a serial killer to sneak in your house and murder you bad. Chris and Matt, of course, drew inspiration from that.
Petey and I called it a night earlier than anyone else. We headed out to our isolated cabin in the woods, pulled out the sleeper sofa, put Moulin Rouge on the TV, and fell asleep immediately. Shortly thereafter we were woken up.
It’s hard to articulate how horrifying it is to be awakened in the middle of the night and in the middle of the woods by people breaking into your house wearing hoodies and shaking milk jugs full of chains. Imagine honestly believing that you’re going to be murdered in the most painful way possible. That’s what it was like.
I didn’t know I was capable of screaming as loudly as I screamed that night. It was a full-on, bout-to-be-disemboweled, terror scream — far louder than anything I’ve ever heard in a horror movie. And it was all thanks to my sweet scary sister and her husband.
Happy birthday, Chris — love you!
*I also love using the word “Babushka”, apparently.