A few weeks ago, G/O Media had a casket delivered to the office. We received a crimson red funeral luminary from Titan Casket because my colleague, Kevin Hurler, made Taylor Swift a side of her personality that can be leveraged for blogs, and this coffin (in a different colorway) was featured in her Anti-Hero music video. Naturally he tried to sleep in it, lasted about 30 minutes and spent the rest of his day.
I don’t have any particular feelings one way or another about Taylor Swift (she’s fine I guess? No shade to the Swifties, y’all have) but I do. care a lot on a couple different vampire shows and I have a deep and constant need to engage in any situation. Naturally, I scheduled time with the coffin and sent a pitch to my editor: “What if I tried to sleep in the coffin like a vampire?”
We discussed a few different options: open or closed lid? (Open, for security reasons, although it was quickly ignored the day of.) Would I spend the night in the coffin or the day? (Daytime, of course, is when vampires sleep, duh.) Would I be able to tweet from the coffin? (Absolutely not, said my editor. I did it anyway, because I thought it would be hilarious. Fuck man.) Should I dress up as a vampire? (We said yes, but I realized I would have to wear a vampire costume in a coffin for hours and decided against it. Sorry, I’m really upset about this one.) what Molly Taft, another colleague, would dress up as Guillermo de la Cruz and stand guard over my coffin? (Yes, they would. However, they didn’t.) All those details sorted, I headed to the office.
There was just one small hiccup. I was still alive. Everyone knows that vampires are undead of the night, and I was still a living, breathing member of the human race. Luckily for me, death was heading towards the office.
Kirby Howell-Baptiste, a British actress who appeared on Killing Eve, the good placeand Cruelalso plays character Death of the Endless on Netflix Sand seller, an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s seminal comic book. It turns out that the day I was supposed to step into a coffin to meet the undead like a gentleman, death itself decided to stop. I had to show her my coffin, naturally, and she immediately tried it on, getting it ready for her next inhabitant (me) and generally looking lovely. After we talked (full interview coming soon!), I decided I was ready. It was time to die.
I entered the coffin. I know I told my editor I wouldn’t tweet, but I’m a freak, and I brought my phone, a book, and a flashlight into the coffin with me. My defense is that I’m sure modern vampires have their phones with them and Claudia in Interview with the Vampire has her little notebooks in her coffin with her all the time, so bringing a book wasn’t that hard. And then, decision time. Should I close the lid or not?
RIP to Kevin Hurler, but I’m different. I decided that today was the day I was going to girlboss (not a girl) too close to the sun. I closed the lid. If I was going to do that, I was going to enlist. The lid closed and I lay on my back, staring at the off-white satin that lined the top of the coffin and thought to myself, you know, that’s not so bad. And then I fell asleep.
I woke up a few hours later, a little confused, slightly dehydrated, but, for the most part, completely fine. But I had reached a decision point. We had established that I could sleep in the coffin; Now was my chance to call it a success, break out of my undead prison, and do some real work. But there was still a good five hours before sunset (that day in New York, the sun set at 4:36 p.m.) and I was already pretty comfortable, and you know what, my mom didn’t raise a quitter . I stayed in this coffin.
And then lunchtime hit. I released my boss who reminded me that under our union contract I was entitled to my lunch break, and since I couldn’t live on human blood (okay, that was a guess), I could leave the coffin to get food. However, he said, I was to have lunch in the coffin. It was a compromise, but I was starving and took the deal. Which is why, about 30 minutes later, I was sitting in the coffin with a bowl of burrito and a cup of kombucha, and Justin Rodriguez took this excellent photo of me to send to my editor as proof. I attach it below.
Now the home stretch. I came back to rest and tried to take another nap. No dice. I managed to put the flashlight against my neck, put the book on top of the coffin and read a chapter or two before my arms got tired. The book was, ironically enough, a horror novel by T. Kingfisher titled A house with good bones. I recommand it. Very scary. It comes out in March. Anyway, it didn’t make me more sleepy.
There is something I should mention about coffins. They are not made with body heat in mind. I discovered, very quickly, that my little body (which already heats up well at first) was not made for coffins. I was very hot. Not hot enough to convince me to leave the coffin, but definitely hot enough to get slightly sweaty. It wasn’t ideal, but I’m a soldier, and I can honestly say that I slept in less than ideal conditions than a warm, dry coffin in the middle of an open office in midtown Manhattan. Ask me about the summer I spent sleeping outside, in a hammock, on a boat, literally through thunderstorms. Now that’s a real challenge.
So I continued to tweet occasionally, a few of my co-workers came over to say hello and talk with me, and waited out the rest of my day. I opened the coffin, just a little, while chatting with my comrades. I thought it was pretty weird that I was literally sleeping in a coffin in the middle of the workday, I might as well look them in the eye while I was talking to them while lying on my stomach in a coffin. I have a very serious job.
And then, as I waited the last 30 minutes in this warm, slightly damp coffin that smelled faintly of ozone and pollo adobo, I wondered. Could I do this every day? Could I settle into a coffin, sleep through the sunny hours, then rise, renewed, a thirsty and fierce emissary of darkness? Could I suffer through the endless drudgery as the humans around me worked, chatted, and took union-mandated lunch breaks, doing the very things that once made me human, things I might not partake in- be never again, because I was living like a devil in the shadows? Could I bear to live with myself in the liminal bardo between life and death, torn between who I was and the boundless expanse of an immortal future?
Yes my guy. Absolutely. There’s no doubt in my mind that I could hack it. The coffin ? No problem. Slice of human pie. Blood? I mean… I’ll get there when I get there, but otherwise? I’m ready. I’m fully prepared to take the next steps into undead, accept the dark gift, and be reborn as a fucking badass vampire. Consider this test a success. Give it to me. I am ready to fully experience the night beyond.
So ends my experience of vampirism, after spending six non-consecutive hours in a coffin. Not bad. i came out of said coffin, as dehydrated as an Arizona cactus in the summer, but I emerged anyway. Maybe that’s why vampires are so thirsty. The coffin is not designed to keep them dehumidified. Something for casket makers to think about. According What we do in the shadows, every actor who has ever played a vampire on screen is actually a vampire pretending to be a human actor. It’s logic. I’ve met a few of those actors, actually. One or two of them might even remember me. It seems like all I need to do to complete my transformation is find Sam Reid and ask him to make me a Sampire. I mean, a vampire. A vampire! You get it. I’ll let you know how it works.
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