Monday, July 07, 2008

Inhouse mystery

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Before and after pix:

When my friend Hrugaar was coming to stay, I cleaned the spare bedroom. And I noticed that there were two items missing from the walls. Which was a bit freaky. Someone been sneaking into the house to pinch items from the bedrooms?

I turned the place upsidedown, wondering if this was the first signs of senile dementia or Alzheimer's in yours truly. Perhaps in some unremembered moment of scattiness, I had tucked them away in the freezer or washing machine or something.

Commonsense prevailed. The room gets periodically used by visitors. One of my guests just didn't like what was on the walls and took them down and hid them. They were eventually found - after Hrugaar had long gone - tucked away under all the items in a storage drawer of the room.

I'm afraid this just strikes me as weird. They were carvings made of wood, collected by my husband on his travels. Wood, you know. Dead trees. They aren't emitting radiation. They don't contain hidden cameras or microphones. They are harmless bits of wood, lovingly and beautifully carved for tourists, by not-very-wealthy artisans trying to make a living out of travellers coming to their country to gawk at them.
Yeah, I am intolerant of superstition. Very. Call it cultural differences if you like; I tend to think of it as the kind of thinking that keeps people poor and backward, that makes a women suffering from cancer seek out a witchdoctor or traditional medicine man, and end up dead as a result. The kind of thinking that makes someone gullible to conmen. The kind of thinking that makes conservation students too scared to go into the forest because of the "spirits" there. The kind of thinking that makes people try to find easy substitutes for hard work and commonsense, you know, "think positively and you'll end up rich". And before you laugh at that, think of the wild success that feng shui proponents have had, or that ghastly book called "The Secret" by Rhonda Byrne.

Maybe she was right at that - guess who made a fortune by believing she could write and market a book about wealth and health through positive thinking, positive that hundreds of thousands of the gullible public would buy it? Now there's proof for you!

17 comments:

hrugaar said...

Now here's the weird thing. Had they been hanging on the wall when I was there, I would likely have taken them down at night and covered them over somewhere, then hung them up again first thing in the morning.

But that's not superstition ... that's because of an overactive imagination, and eyes that play tricks with things at the peripheries of my vision late at night. I think I would have slept more comfortably that way.

Masks and dolls trip my radar like that. The pictures of birds there, - well, as with soft toys, I don't mind so much if they appear to come to life when the grown-ups are asleep.

Either that or I would have ended up talking to them like house elves. Mask faces have a character and personality of their own, it is easy enough to understand how some are thought to have their own 'spirit'.

And of course if I thought there were spirits waiting in the rain forest, that would just encourage me to go in rather than scare me away. :D

(No, I'm not gullible ... I'm a Fantasy writer.)

But perhaps whoever hid the masks away did you a favour, shielding you from exposure to that aspect of my, um, eccentricity.

Glenda Larke said...

Lol! I am not asking who hid them, so I can't thank them on your behalf...

I reckon I have a pretty active imagination, but I keep it for my writing and making up stories in my head. There's enough worrying stuff in the real world without adding to it by giving reality to shadows.

Having been brought up by a very prosaic farmer and farmer's wife, and then having seen firsthand how easy it is to warp young minds with tales of ghosts and things that go bump in the night, I reckon I had the better end of the bargain.

Jo said...

I believe in ghosts and spirits when I am reading, but not when I am living my everyday life. In Matt's family, if someone was to pass between two nuns on the way to work, they would turn round and go home. To his death Matt's dad would not say the word pig, it was always a gissy, and there is an island off the coast in the Newcastle (UK) area which was called Rabbit Island by the fisherman, its true name was Pig Island. I do pander to superstitions such as knocking on wood or throwing spilt salt over my left shoulder so I guess a lot of us are guilty of it. But I wouldn't have taken your masks off the wall.

hrugaar said...

No no, I'm not a scaredy-cat of bumps in the night. The masks don't frighten or spook me. The thought of magical beings in the world intrigues and excites me. But okay, maybe that means my mind is warped the other way ... :D

Jo said...

That makes me warped too ru, I just know dragons exist.

webfaery said...

Some people just don't like thinks 'looking' at them in certain situations. We have a large print of wolves in the snow. Not only do we like it a lot, it also has a certain amount of sentimental value to us. We've lived in a couple of houses where the best place to hang to picture was above the dining table. My mother-in-law didn't like that. She found it uncomfortable to eat with wolves watching.

Jo said...

Dunno about wolves, but we used to have four aquariums in our dining room and I was always uncomfortable not to say guilty or embarrassed eating fish in front of them.

hrugaar said...

Jo, that reminds me of restaurants during my childhood, where they would have a row of aquariums along one wall filled with live lobsters and crabs etc. ... the idea being that you chose which one you wanted to eat and they would hoist it out and cook it for you. There was an unpleasant, vaguely sadistic edge to the whole thing.

Jo said...

There are still lots of restaurants that do that ru. Or over here anyway. At least you know your seafood is fresh.

Glenda Larke said...

We have lots of them here too...and I must admit there is something kinda gross about eating a fish under the eyes of the guys who were swimming around with it a few minutes earlier.

Oh, and by the way, I believe there is a scene involving fish tanks in the movie nashii composed music for...

Jo said...

Will have to watch out for the movie. Did you say what it was called or don't you know yet, I can't remember.

Actually aquariums feature in a lot of movies and frequently end up being broken and all the poor fish land on the floor. Yes I know, what actually goes on the floor isn't really the fish, but no-one in the stories ever seems to care. If I were one of the characters I would be scrabbling on the floor trying to rescue them. Unless I was being shot at I suppose, ah the problems of movies.

glenda larke said...

My thoughts exactly...

I'll let you know about the movie when it comes out. I am anxiously waiting to see if they really did use her music or not.

hrugaar said...

I can imagine Jo scrambling around on her knees during the middle of a shoot-out, trying to rescue all that lovely fresh fish for her freezer. (Remember the opening sequence of the second Indiana Jones movie, chasing the diamond among all the scattered ice?) :D

Jo said...

The fish from the aquariums would be too small for a freezer ru, not worth eating at all (unless it was in a Chinese store where they sell fresh fish from tanks). No I would be putting them back in water of some kind. Don't remember the diamond scene, I might have been scrabbling around for that.

hrugaar said...

The diamond scrabble is on my latest blog post. Did you see the huge jellyfish in the tank in the Stormbreaker movie though? Not something I would want to dive to rescue...

Jo said...

Nope, can't say I did see it, jellyfish are not my favourites anyway. I believe the Japanese eat some kinds of jellyfish, but it has never appealed to me.

Matt is the scuba diver round here, he was a founder member of the British Sub Aqua Club in the Medway Towns. I just "played" at it.

Glenda Larke said...

That Stormbreaker movie was really irritating to me, and I haven't even seen it, cos it means that I couldn't use that title for my present book and had to go with Stormshifter instead.