At Madame Tussauds New York, I got to indulge my pre-Halloween spirit.
Nitram and I had walked the city for a while, then took our time going through the exhibits at Madame’s. The figures really do seem alive as you’re approaching them, and you begin to feel impolite as you stare. Upon getting closer, you can tell they’re not human, so you lean forward and peer into their eyes—and suddenly they look real again. Like scary real, why am I so close to this person real. Quite disconcerting.
We came to a space that was an entire wall of pairs of hands, palms out. After spending a little time studying them (more interesting than it sounds, believe me), I said, “Oh! Look, Jon Bon Jovi’s hands!” Nitram rolled his eyes.
I glanced around. No one was in the space with us, so I went up on my tiptoes and pushed my left boob into one of Jon Bon Jovi’s hands. Nitram covered his face. Of course I couldn’t stop talking about it for five minutes afterwards.
In need of refreshment, we found the cafeteria at Madame’s, where several waxworks sat at different tables. We could laugh now that we were sure they were waxworks. Earlier, I’d approached a museum attendant who was so tranquil that I wasn’t sure he was a human until I got into his personal space.
Bagels in hand, we chose a table in the middle of the nearly empty cafeteria and took a break. Soon I was daydreaming, chin resting on my palm, my bagel forgotten.
Through my reverie, I noticed a guy approaching, carrying a cafeteria tray. He’d pause, then come forward again, his puzzled gaze fixed on my face. I didn’t break my thousand-yard stare even though my eyes were starting to water. When he got to the table next to us, I woke up my face and straightened up a bit, smiling brightly at him.
He about fell over, almost taking a small table with him. His knees actually wobbled, and so did his tray as he grabbed the back of a chair and sat down hard. I was laughing as he said, “OH. You scared me! I didn’t, I didn’t know if you were real or not!” He put his hand over his heart and panted, laughing too. It delighted me. Nitram missed half of it. The guy said to him, “Well, you were just sitting there eating and not talking with her or looking at her, and she wasn’t moving…” I told him I hadn’t meant to do that to him, that I’d only been daydreaming, but when I saw the look on his face I couldn’t resist.
I said, “I want to do it to someone else.”
People kept passing through the cafeteria on their way to the rest of the exhibit, so we set up again. Nitram ignored me, pretending to read a museum brochure to make it look even more like he was alone. At his ringside seat, the scared guy was trying to eat his sandwich keep a grin of anticipation off his face. I returned to my wide-eyed, chin-in-hand pose, facing more toward the passers-by this time.
It didn’t take long. A mother and daughter slowed down as they went by, the girl asking in a loud whisper, “Mom, is that one of THEM?”
“Shhhh! Honey, that’s not polite!” Then the woman stared hard at me for a moment before urging her daughter forward. The girl was still looking back over her shoulder, and when they were almost out the door I winked. Her eyes went wide and her mouth made an O. “Mom! Mom, it moved…!” “Shhhh, honey!”
My accomplices were having trouble staying in character, but they settled down as more people came by. Two chattering teen girls fell silent as they slowed down and stared, then began nudging each other, giggling and whispering. The people walking nearby kept glancing at them and then back at me, and I couldn’t take it any longer, my eyeballs were burning. I sat up straight and grinned and waved: “Hello!” The girls levitated and screamed, and everyone around them laughed.
The guy I’d first scared told us it made his day. It certainly made mine.
Why do we humans like to scare one another so much? I know I’m not the only one who loves to do this to others, and I love to get scared, too (well, unless it has to do with heights or fire or… c-l-o-w-n-s). Scary is fun.
I can’t wait to do this again someday.