I Heart Graveyards

My first apartment in New York City was next to a graveyard that housed the city’s only active mausoleum. Every tour of the neighborhood included me pointing to the mausoleum sign and saying “How active can a mausoleum be?” like I was the Larry David of Washington Heights.

This location was ideal for me. Not because it was close to trains or my sole NYC based relative, because it wasn’t. It was ideal because I am a ghost and I like my haunts to be near my home because who can count on the MTA nowadays.

The truth is simple and a lil spooky, cemeteries and graveyards are calming to me. You won’t find better listeners than the deceased and any fight with a friend or work crisis seems insignificant when among (preferably) dilapidated graves. When I’m particularly stressed, a stroll around a graveyard leaves me with a post-massage kind of chill.

To fully understand this relaxation technique, you need to know that for me, growing up in a small town was a lot like growing up in a graveyard- quiet, haunted, not a lot of action. After running through every season of The Office multiple times and frequenting Blockbuster so often that the employees knew our movie preferences by heart, my high school friends and I started seeking more physical entertainment. On Saturday nights, we’d pickup Sheetz slushies and roll out to the graveyard to cower in bushes and brambles playing intense rounds of Sardines.

It wasn’t until I got to college that I realized that my old haunt was pretty weird. Conversations with friends from big cities informed me that, no they didn’t also have a friend that lived above a funeral home a la My Girl and they definitely didn’t play Sardines with their high school friends in their local graveyards. They had opted for movie nights and sneaking beers instead of breaking out the Ouiji board to talk to the dead. I concede, maybe this last one was a bit too far.

My university had a cemetery on campus that served as my personal stress ball throughout collegiate life. I walked through it during my toughest challenges: when I was struggling to pick a major, when my grandmother died, and after an accidental Mucinex DM overdose led to me hallucinating during a History of Rome test. The graveyard puts things in perspective when the world is shifting, emotionally and chemically.

Now when job hunts are failing or Donald Trump is tweeting, you can find me in the graveyard. I’m the one meandering around, reminding herself that any rustle from a bush is just a hiding high schooler, waiting for her friends to find her and definitely not a serial killer.

I now leave the Ouiji board at home.