Category Archives: Obsessions

An Aspidistra [blooms] in Bethesda

When I was still living with my parents I used to live for Sunday nights when I could settle in front of the TV and watch Masterpiece Theatre with Alistair Cooke on Channel 11, our local PBS station. One of the mini-series’ I remember watching was Country Matters, a dramatization of stories by H. E. Bates. The one dramatization I remembered most of all was An Aspidistra in Babylon. Actually I really only remembered the title and because of that I wanted an aspidistra, or cast iron plant, of my own.

I found one, years ago, at a yard sale in Savannah, Georgia. I bought it and foolishly planted it in the yard. The person having the sale said it would do well in our yard, but perhaps she didn’t understand we were from a state quite a bit north of hers.

For my birthday this year Andrew and Alex gave me an aspidistra after hearing me mourn the fact that I’ve never found one. It’s spindly and only has two leaves, but it seems to be thriving.

Before we left for our trip to Southern California for Christmas I noticed a new green bump near the soil and was overjoyed, thinking I was getting a new leaf. I’ve checked it regularly — usually when I water it (rarely because it hates wet feet) — and there never seemed to be any change. Yesterday was watering day and I noticed that it had developed some markings, not unlike a demogorgon with a closed mouth.

Today I took another look. The demogorgon’s mouth opened! It wasn’t a new leaf after all, it was a flower!

Found Items: Dark Shadows Memories

A while back I cleared out part of the kneewall and pulled out my suitcase of teenaged memories. It’s mostly packed with Jeremy’s letters, but I found other memories inside. One of which was a stained manilla envelope labeled Dark Shadows’ Memories. Inside the envelope were pages I’d torn out of 16 Magazine and perhaps Tiger Beat too.

Stained manilla envelop labeled Dark Shadows' memories

I am not sure exactly when I first saw Dark Shadows, but I know that I watched it when I was in 6th grade. I think I’d heard about it and remember watching one episode alone in a dark room and was terrified.

It could have been Eugenia Mack who really got me into watching Dark Shadows. I remember running to her house after school so I could watch it. She lived a little closer to school than I did. It began at 3 pm so we always missed a little bit of it. Her parents worked, so no one was there to interfere with us watching a soap opera about vampires, witches and werewolves.

I stopped going to Girl Scouts, and therefore was not allowed to go on a camping trip.

I guess it was my first obsession, and a gateway to many related obsessions. Based on the last photo it looks like I still enjoyed watching it in late 1970. Or at least I still liked David Henesy.

My two favorite characters were Barnabas Collins (played by Jonathan Frid) and David Collins (played by David Henesy). Barnabas was such an empathetic vampire. You couldn’t help liking him. He was soft-spoken and gentle.

As for David Collins — it wasn’t so much his character, but the actor himself. I was madly in love with David Henesy. In fact, I remember that when I was in stressful situations at school I would imagine David was my boyfriend and living in New York. You see, we had a long distance relationship.

I mean, look at that face. I bet you are a little infatuated with him too!

I didn’t like all the characters. In fact I thought Quentin stank, at least in 1970. I guess I just didn’t like handsome werewolves.

You’re a Gamer?!

I’ve had two people in the past few months exclaim in surprise “You’re a Gamer?!” One was a book group friend to whom I confied that I’d played a game called Ingress after she admitted to playing Pokemon Go. They are games by the same company that intersect the real world with the online world by having the players explore the game by walking around the real world. Ingress was the first game of its kind and I liked it at first, but didn’t like the fighting aspect. Same with Pokemon Go (and the similar Harry Potter augumented reality game, also created by Niantic.)

The second time was when I mentioned a game I’d played to a relative of my soon-to-be daughter-in-law in response to something he’d said about something in which he was involved. I remember neither the game nor whatever he said that prompted me to admit playing the game.

Both times I denied being a “Gamer”. In my opinion a gamer is invested in games much more than I am. Sure, there have been times in my past where I played a game into the wee hours of the morning. Myst comes to mind. And the Sims. And more recently I have stayed up playing some room escape type games on my phone. I’m having fun right now with an old-school point and click adventure game called Thimbleweed Park.

But I am not a gamer. I just like to play some kinds of video games. And sometimes I get a little too involved in them and neglect my real life responsibilities a little bit. But I do the same with books sometimes. And, to a less extent, television.

I think it’s fair to say I am an Avoider. But I am not a gamer.