The Basement Chronicles (Or, Do You Like Scary Movies?)

1 Jan

This is you watching a scary movie. You have balled your hands into fists even though you don’t know it. Your feet are curled up in your chair in case there are real monsters underneath it that might eat your feet. Periodically, you check your Twitter feed as if the movie is merely boring instead of resolutely terrifying. This is how you get away with not watching the scariest parts. (But I’m on to you.)  The killer, clearly, is in the basement. He knows it. You know it. The only person who appears not to know it is the film’s lithe heroine, because she is just now descending into it WITHOUT A FLASHLIGHT despite the fact that the only light has clearly been broken by human hands, five of her friends were dispatched by a psychopath in the last hour, and there is creepy music that indicates in no uncertain terms that she’s going to die.


This is a true statement. People do not do this. Except when they do. Last night I was in my apartment, taking my sweet time getting ready to  head out to a New Year’s Eve party. I have a new, shorter haircut, so I had bought some super fancy Osis hair powder to try out (Shameless promotion: Buy this shit, it rules). My roommates had gone to dinner and I hadn’t bothered to turn out the light in their room…or the living room… or the kitchen. I put a cup of cider in the microwave. I turned on the hair dryer and… I think you see where this is going.

Total blackness.

This is what black looks like. You're welcome.

I live in an old Polish building in Greenpoint with a door and general foundation I would swear are made out of cast iron. The shower basically turns into hot lava anytime anyone in any of the 12 or so apartments so much as turns on a faucet (so, like every two minutes DIESHOWERIHATEYOU). So I was not exactly surprised that simultaneous microwaving and hair drying were beyond the building’s capabilities.

That said, my general state of being appears to be “woeful unpreparedness.” I did happen to have lit a candle in my window in the course of getting ready, but I do not:

1. own a flashlight.

2. know where the fuck the fusebox is, or

3. have any idea how to operate a fusebox even if I were to miraculously find one… in the dark.

So naturally, I got out my iPhone and shined its dull gleam in locations I thought were likely to contain fuse boxes. These included, but were not limited to: behind the fridge, next to the radiator, inside the coat closet and “places I can only see if I stand on the couch.”

This strategy having (surprisingly) failed, I texted my roommates to ask if they knew where the fuse box was. They did!

“It’s in the basement. On the right. I think they’re pretty clearly marked,” said my Fancy Pants Not Scared of the Basement Roommate. Even though nothing explicitly scary had occurred thus far, I was already huddled on my bed with the covers up to my nose imagining all sorts of terrible demons and medical tortures that were probably going on in the sections of my room I could no longer see, so I didn’t think going into the basement was a good idea–but I had to get to the party before midnight, and my hair was drying *GASP* naturally by the second. I had to do something.

“Fine,” I thought. “I’ll go in the basement. I’m not scared of any old basement. I am going to go in there and turn on the lights and write about how awesome and fearless I am on my blog.”

“YEAH!” said the chorus of supporters that lives in my head.

So I went downstairs. And I was like, “Here, basement basement basement. Here, little basement.  If I were a basement where would I ….”

Oh THERE it is.

For those of you who have underdeveloped amygdalas (the part of your brain that processes emotional salience… e.g. fear), this door is one of the scariest doors to a basement I have ever seen. In fact, in light of this basement door, I fully support filming the next season of American Horror Story in my apartment building.

Then. I opened it.

I mean, seriously, just look at this shit. And I took these during the DAY.

Still, despite having seen at least 15 zillion horror movies where the scantily dressed female lead who was JUST getting ready to go to a debaucherous party gets murdered to death in the basement, I was like, “Oh, hey, yeah. I’ve already come this far. I’ll just turn on this light here and…”



*click click*

*click click*

The light doesn’t turn on, and as I sit there fiddling with the switch, I hear, quietly emanating from the depths of the basement, but getting louder.


At which point I actually said “Oh FUCK this” out loud and ran up three flights of stairs so fast I think it might actually be an Olympic record.

Then I did my makeup in the dark. Until my roommates came back.


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