I’m not sure which is scarier: searching for haunted souls on the San Francisco Ghost Hunt two nights before Halloween, or realizing that you are in a relationship with someone.
Sure, the latter has its perks – you now have someone to rub noses with in the cold. Someone to cook you delicious pork chop dinners. Someone to kiss goodnight. Someone who truly appreciates how you look in your old pink bath robe. Someone who will be willingly dragged along on ghost tours of San Francisco. And naturally this person can protect you from ghosts. But there is something almost infinitely more terrifying about having a new someone in your life than waiting for the dead to rise.
Perhaps it’s because with ghosts you expect them to haunt you. You expect them to eventually fade away and move on, and with people, you hope they never do.
And I don’t think they have exorcists for ex-boyfriends. Therapists don’t count. I don’t know of any who make house calls and can claim to purge the devil from your past. With ghosts, you can always hire someone to come, sprinkle some holy water in your apartment, say some incantations, and give you some tips on how to live with the bastard if he refuses to disappear. Plus, you can always look on the bright side: at least he is your ghost.
With people, it’s the opposite. You can’t just hire someone to bring your ex back into your life, douse him with water, cast a spell and tell him to love you. And if you can, this person needs to do a much better job marketing himself. Think of the financial possibilities!
Last night my new person and I walked the streets of Pacific Heights with about a dozen other people eager to hear about the ghosts that haunt the Victorian mansions. We met at the Queen Anne Hotel on Sutter Street, a former school for girls that is rumored to be haunted by a benevolent teacher named Mary Lake. Our guide was Jim Fassbinder, a theatrical storyteller who didn’t disappoint. He lead us on a three hour tour of the upscale neighborhood and told us about the various ghosts that haven’t yet moved on.
Some were still angry – 100 years after their deaths. Some were still tortured by their families, by their spouses, by their misfortunes. My new person pointed out that most of the ghosts were women. That is, all but one weak spirited male whose own wife came back from the dead in order to properly haunt his mansion.
Instead of being scared on the tour, I felt bad for the ghosts. I think I learned a lot from them. Sometimes I think it’s easier to live a haunted life than move forward. With your past ghosts, you already know the cold spots. You have already figured out how to live around them. I realize I would rather take my chances with new ghosts of the fleshier kind.