I Used To Believe newsletter: August 2013
There's probably a word in German for it - the sense that as soon as you turn your back or leave a room, everything changes. It's a common theme on IUTB. This month we've got dogs relaxing on the sofa when you go to bed and plants having a mad growth spurt when you're not looking.
When I was little, I thought time was cyclical, and that the numbered years cycled around like the days of the week or the months of the year. I asked my mom "when will it be 1978 again?", and the response "never" invoked in me an existential fear I had not known before.
I used to believe that babies weren't actually "alive" because I knew that I couldn't remember anything from when I was a baby, so I just assumed that little kids and babies wouldn't remember anything. I asked my younger brother once, "are you alive? Do you understand what I'm saying?"
When told that "everybody drives on the left side of the road" I wondered why. Wouldn't the cars hit each other if they all drove on the same side? And what was the right side used for?
I believed that an allergy was something you were terrified of, I had a friend allergic to dogs and one allergic to bees. I met a boy with a wheat allergy and I laughed and laughed and laughed! The girl with the peanut allergy got me going too. I decided that only thing I was allergic to was tigers. I believed this until at least the age of 14.
From age 3 to about 6, when people said, "shut the door, you'll let a draft in," I thought drafts were huge, stealthy, pale-grey bats that must be kept outside at all costs.
There used to be a store in our neighborhood that sold blinds and drapes for windows. It was called Habitat. My daughter asked me one day if it was a home for blind people.
Most kids are told that the baby comes from mommy's tummy. Well, I took that literally and thought that babies were barfed up when they were born. It made perfect sense to me since I threw up when my tummy was upset - I figured if a baby was in your tummy your tummy would get upset and you'd barf the baby up. I couldn't wrap my head around how a baby could fit out of a person's mouth and thought maybe their jaws came unhinged, like a snake, and that they couldn't breath while they were doing it. I was born with a big ol' bump on my head that they removed a few months after I was born. I believed thoroughly that the bump was due to hitting my mom's teeth on the way out. Turns out if was just forceps.
I used to believe that when restaurants said "free delivery," it meant that if you had the food delivered, it would be completely free.
Because plants grow so slowly that it doesn't look like they are growing, I used to think that plants only grew when people weren't looking.
When my friend was little, she believed that her forehead was called a forehead because she was four years old. She thought that when she turned five, it would become a fivehead, then a sixhead, a sevenhead, and so on.
I used to believe that quitting something 'cold turkey' meant that you ate cold turkey instead of smoking or doing whatever else they're trying to quit. I figured that since cold turkey doesn't sound that delicious, they must be so distracted by how annoying cold turkey tastes that they forget about their addiction.
One time we were driving past a house that advertised psychic tarot card readings for $20.00 and my daughter asked me if the lady inside knew we were driving by reading her sign.
When I was little, I heard the song 'I Want Candy' by Aaron Carter. My name being Andy, I'd mishear the lyric as 'I Want Andy'. I found this extremely creepy and imagined the little people in the radio being obsessed with me and wanting to capture me.
I believed for years that cars had auto-pilot. I would always fall asleep on road trips, and was amazed that my father could stay awake. He told me he didn't - he turned on auto-pilot. I started to suspect once when he DID fall asleep driving, but then rationalized that he just forgot to turn it on.
When I was little, for whatever reason, I was terrified of there being a lion in our basement. My sister got so annoyed with me talking about it, that she told me that if you say something is true seven times, it automatically becomes true, and I had already said six times so I better stop now. Needless to say, I never really talked about lions again.
When I was young, I used to think that my dogs would wait until my whole family was asleep then unzip their animal costumes (on their bellies) and pop out to act like we do. I imagined them sitting properly in chairs and fetching cups from the cupboards. This would, of course, end as dawn was approaching and we were about to wake up. They would climb back into their pet costume and resume their place as our pets. Every time they would roll onto their back for a scratch I would look for the zipper.
When I was four or five I used to sleep on my left side. Every night I would hear a thumping, drumming sound in my left ear and could never figure out what it is, but after much theorizing, concluded the only possible answer is that giant dwarfs lived in my ears - dwarfs because they had to fit in, and giant because they had to step loud enough for me to hear them (little giants never occurred to me though). I think it took me a year or two before I figured out it was my heart I heard thumping.
Both my parents were married to other people before they married each other, so when I was little I believed you have your first practice husband/wife to work out the kinks, and then you had your second one that would last a life time!
My little brother was only nine when the movie G-Force came out. He liked the movie and always talked about it, but consistently called it "G-Spot". The looks on our parent's faces when he screamed "I wanna go see G-Spot again!" were hilarious.
I knew the "Dr." was an abbreviation for "doctor," but I didn't know it was also an abbreviation for "drive." So whenever I saw a road sign that said "Dr." after a word, I thought it was "doctor."