Monthly Archives: June 2019

ASMR – It’s Weirder than I Thought

I woke up at two the other night and felt wide awake. To get sleepy, I turned to YouTube for a quick relaxation session. I like watching two things: a nice massage or a gentle hair brushing experience. I wrote a blog about the hairbrushing thing called, ‘Let Me Help You With That Kink.’ That’s how I felt in the beginning when scrolling through YouTube in search of something that would quiet my mind. Just a little kinky.

But now I’ve been introduced to a whole new level of strange. I clicked on what I thought was my video and the usual ASMR sign came up. But this time, there was no hairbrush or masseuse waiting for me. Instead, a gold sprayed mannequin head came into view, along with a woman holding a pair of Q tips. To my surprise and discomfort, she proceeded to insert the swabs in the ears of the mannequin. In, out, in out. Like some kind of ear masturbation. I exited out of that one and lo and behold, another mannequin appeared, wearing a set of headphones. A woman stroked the headphones over and over again and I found myself wondering how anyone on earth would find this relaxing. It was just so weird.

It turns out that the world of ASMR, or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, is a wide one, and what makes me feel like falling asleep just doesn’t do it for some people. There’s one where someone gets an eye exam. There’s different videos of people whispering. Some people tap on wood, or books, or balls. (The bouncing kind.) People hum, they whistle, or smoke in their cars.Maybe the last is meant for people who’ve quit and miss it. Truly, there’s something for everyone.

It’s left me wondering. If my videos relax me because it feels like someone is brushing my hair or giving me a massage, how did these other scenarios originate? What are people doing with mannequins, anyway? And who decided gold was the colour for the head, and that Q tips would be a hit? Who enjoys seeing headphones get a good rubdown? I wonder how the videographers figure these things out. Do they have a team? Are they taking requests? I have no idea. But to explain how people feel diving into the deep end of weird videos, I’ll quote the lyrics from Lady Gaga’s moving duet with Bradley Cooper in ‘A Star is Born.’

I’m off the deep end, watch as I dive in
I’ll never meet the ground
Crash through the surface, where they can’t hurt us
We’re far from the shallow now

Yes, we are, people. We’re waaaaaaay far from the shallows. But whatever makes you sleep at night, whatever has your body falling into a deep state of relaxation, remember this. Never put anything in your ear that’s small than your elbow. Now you stay safe. Good night. And here’s a little something for your resting pleasure.

Snack Time in the Apocalypse

My daughter, Hilary, is my alpha reader when I’m writing a novel. I recently sent her the first three chapters of my latest work in progress, and after all the required ego building; ‘Yes, nice, very good. I like the character and story,’ she proceeded to put me in my place.

“Mom, what’s with all the eating?”

I’m wondering how she can see through the phone to the coconut muffin I’m holding, but I hide it behind my back anyway. “Not you, mom. The girl in your story! She’s always cooking. It slows down the action. Remember that she’s terrified and alone.”

My first instinct was to feel defensive. “That’s why she eating so much. She needs provisions to help her handle the horror of her situation. You can stress eat in the apocalypse, you know.” Silence on the phone.

When I go to a movie where the characters are constantly running and hiding, all I can think is, when are they going to have a meal? Or go to the bathroom? I find it hard not to worry about their wellbeing. Never mind that the enemy soldier, alien or dinosaur may be closing in. When’s lunch?

I have five sisters and one brother and I swear I’m the only one who thinks this way. The sisters are like corset wearing Southerners from the 1800’s, who never have appetites. “I think I’m off my food right now,” they’ll say thoughtfully, pushing their half full plates away. I stare at them in bewilderment. I’ve never pushed a plate away in my life. And my brother seems to burn 1000 calories an hour, but not me, so that’s why I have to exercise so religiously. (Okay, maybe I’m not that diligent, but I try.) My inner tube threatens to become an outer tire, and I’m certainly not going to miss a meal or a snack on it’s behalf.

Do you ever wonder why those characters in movies or novels who never eat, sleep or go to the bathroom don’t discuss it with the other people on the run? “Oops, I just crapped myself. I should have hid out in that gas station bathroom.”

Dear reader, you’ve read my potty stories about the long road north. There is no bush, ditch or vacant lot that won’t do in a pinch. So I really don’t understand these characters. I see my daughter’s point of view that you can’t break the tension with mundane things, but let’s have some believability. Science fiction shows are particularly bad for this. A character goes days before finding a tiny, foil wrapped piece of thousand year old dried meat, makes a face eating it, then is back on the run. Really?

Okay, yes, perhaps my girl is cooking too much. But like me, she has food insecurity. Not the kind that actually exists in the world where real people starve every day, but the kind that’s in your head. My phone tells me its been two hours since breakfast. Time for a snack. Then its lunch. Then its snack time. Then it’s supper. I’m trying very hard not to snack after that because of my inner tube, but I always feel like it. I don’t care if my pants/corset are too tight. Thanks to Tracy’s weight class (the suffering! the joy!) they’re not.

If you have a book you’ve always wanted to write and it’s going to be action packed, let your characters have a moment or two. A bathroom break. A sandwich. Even a bag of chips snatched from a vendor as they whip by, two steps ahead of a giant robot. From all parts of the theater, people like me will exhale in relief, finally able to enjoy the rest of the movie.

If I was a character in a movie, caught by the enemy and facing a death squad, I know what my last words would be. Instead of requesting a cigarette, I’d say, ‘Do you have any bananas?’ And people like me watching the movie would mutter, ‘Good choice.’ People asking about the movie later might say, ‘Was it sad?’
“Yes, but they let her have a banana.’
‘Oh. Thank goodness.’

A little kindness goes a long way. I just hope the Rotten Tomatoes critics like my idea.