When I was a kid I love LOVED those Choose Your Own Adventure books. There was one in particular that was set in a museum, possibly Goosebumps (which was ALL my brothers would ever read) that I think I read obsessively probably 50 times.
I always wanted to do all the adventures all at the same time (as a bit of a control freak it used to stress me out that I would have to “skip to page 56″…I’d be all like… BUT WHAT HAPPENS ON PAGES 5-57… I MUST KNOW! I MUST KNOWS IT ALL!).
I found that even as a kid, I would always have to fight against my natural instinct to take the “safe” path. And those books totally knew how to mess with your emotions, too.
They’d be like: a Mummy pops out from a sarcophagus. Do you…
a) Run towards the clearly marked exit sign to the safe outside world? (turn to page 11)
b) Run back the way you came and try and find the responsible teacher? (turn to page 27)
c) Grab hold of the Mummy’s bandages and try and unravel him like a fucking weirdo? (turn to page 67)
I’m a through and through goodie-two-shoes who loves the rules (seriously, just ask my boyfriend about the one time we theatre hopped…I was so stressed out to be breaking the rules that I had to go and hide in the bathroom until the movie started and I was SURE we weren’t about to get arrested) so my logic-brain has always urged me to take the path that seems the most reasonable (Mummies are scary, therefore, survival, therefore, run away from the Mummy. Not dying > dying).
But for whatever reason (potentially some kind of undiagnosed mental illness) whenever my instinct tells me to do the logical thing ( a) or b) exit sign or find the teacher…duh!) a voice somewhere inside me (where are you tiny voice?!) insists I have to do the opposite (touch the fire…TOUCH IT). Like when you stand on a bridge like a normal person, and the normal person voice inside you goes, “just stand here normally and don’t do anything weird” and the other voice goes “JUMP, DICKHEAD!!”
It happened 5 and half years ago when I left my budding Television career in Australia to move to Canada to work at a summer camp, and it happened two days ago when I left Canada and all my film connections. With no real solid plan outside of “let’s go and live in Bangkok for the month of December and avoid hell-ish Toronto winter.” We’re kind of just winging it.
AND THAT IS SCARY!
Yes, life is a choose your own adventure story, but unlike the books, you can’t sneakily read ahead, you have to pick a path and walk it, and potentially be destroyed by a goosebumps-esque disaster.
In the end, I always chose the craziest option in the choose your own adventure books (because even though I was a child, I was not a moron and I knew that a story was just a story). But what tended to be the trend (at least with the Goosebumps books) was that if you were bold, you were rewarded. If you tried to go through the obvious exit, the door was locked and the Mummy got you, and if you tried to run back to the teacher like a PUSS, you realized that the teacher was now a werewolf (shit, how did that happen?!).
BUT, if you unwrapped the Mummy, you realized that it was just a bunch of bones that would crash to the floor, and you would be the class hero and get the key to the city (my dream, oh how I have always craved praise!!)
The boyfriend (who I have roped into my grenade-exploding lifestyle) and I packed down our apartment, gave away our furniture and now have a 30 day sublet in Bangkok. After that, we really have no solid plans, at all, maybe just a few pipe dreams between us.
I’m not being brave and I’m not as crazy as you’d think…I’m as scared as anyone would be facing the complete unknown.
But the thing is, in the choose your own adventure book of life, you’ve got four options each time life throws something at you… yes, you have a), b), c) but you’ve also got d) – stop playing. If life feels like you’re stuck on page 5, or you keep running into closed doors, may I suggest saying FUCKIT and go straight for the Mummy?
End of the day, it all makes for a good story.