Imagine putting your baby to sleep, or just walking through your house yourself, turning off lights, and you turn off a lamp in your living room, look up and see a picture you don’t recognize. It’s a picture of you with your family, but you don’t remember posing for that picture, and certainly not buying a frame for it and hanging it up. It’s a facial expression you don’t normally make and your baby is actually looking at the camera and smiling, which never happens.
There’s nothing sinister about it, it’s just all these details that are off. That’s how I felt all weekend. There was nothing overtly strange going on, but things were just subtly off, like during my sleep I was transported to a different dimension, like when the whole world phased from Berenstein to the Berenstain Bear dimension.
My toddler would look out the window as if she was looking at someone, but no one was there. Decorations were slightly off. House plants seemingly grew to twice their size overnight. The weather was strange. I actually got to take a nap! It was all slightly wrong.
It wasn’t menacing. I didn’t wake up to see my spouse made a doll out
of my pubic hair that was cut off in my sleep. No, it was more like I went to sleep a brunette and woke up blonde (that didn’t happen, but wouldn’t that be slightly jarring and confusing). It was obviously all in my head, except the part where my baby stared out the window like there was someone there, that was creepy. I heard weird noises like someone walking in my house, only to discover it was the clothes dryer. Just a constant, nagging feeling of unease.
The kid couldn’t sleep, she kicked me in the face while I was changing her diaper, and screamed her head off the majority of Sunday. She normally has a sweet, calm, non-physical-assault kind of baby, but I think she felt it too. No, my house isn’t haunted. If it was haunted, that ghost was playing the long game because I haven’t had any ghostly behavior in the three+ years I lived here.
There wasn’t much venturing outside of my house, so, for all I know, this moderately mismanaged new reality extended to the world. Were dogs walking cats on leashes? Do all driver’s suddenly use blinkers now? Do New Yorkers not use the fact that they’re New Yorkers as though it’s part of their personality anymore? Are we as a species no longer a plodding self-loathing organism determined to commit a slow suicidal death spiral while grasping at dollars? One can hope.
Oh, that’s the other thing that was off, I had a moderate amount of optimism. Maybe if I go back to embracing cynicism the world will phase back into place.