Mating, Dating, Relating, Medicating

Oct 25

Scared (of) Stupid (Things)

In honor of Halloween, here are some things I’m afraid of.  Stupid things–for information on the things I’m really afraid of, such as dying alone and childless and being eaten by cats after not having an orgasm for decades, see every other post on this blog.

1.  Agriculture: My youngest aunt is only nine years older than I am, and she was our most frequent babysitter, a job she did not relish.  When I was 8 or 9, she let me watch Children of the Corn.  There are a lot of cornfields where I’m from.  To this day, if I have to drive through them at night, I roll up the windows, lock the doors, and floor it. Same with the woods. Being stranded at night on a country road is among the most terrifying things I can think of. (I do an awesome imitation of Isaac when he’s possessed by the devil though–ask me if we ever meet and I have been drinking. Clip of the relevant scene here. I wouldn’t watch it, but you are welcome to.)

2. The dark. I cannot sleep in the dark. On my own, I have to have a bright nightlight, preferably two in case the first one fails. I would no sooner walk into a dark room or down a dark hallway than I would run for pleasure. Why risk it?

3.  Birds. I can appreciate birds in nature, when they are far away from me. I can appreciate decorative bird items–indeed, I appreciate them far too much. I’m currently obsessed with peacock jewelry and clothing, for instance, and left to my own devices I would wear some peacock-ish thing every day.(I own these.  They make my life worth living.)

But city birds waddling around near me, or any birds flying anywhere near me, send me into an uncontrollable shrieky flappy dance. I throw my arms up to shield my head and ululate with terror. Because those fuckers are out to get me: they are trying to get a grip on my hair with their disgusting scaly talons, and when they do, I will die of horror.

4. Heights. This one isn’t my fault, I don’t think, but a consequence of my lack of depth perception. As such, it isn’t exactly heights I’m afraid of, but depths.  Walking up to any sort of precipice, or down any steep slope even, sends my nervous system into overdrive: my knees lock and my heart pounds and my ears roar and every cell in me screams NOOOOO. (Metro escalator outages hurt me.)

The first panic attack I ever had came at a Peter Gabriel concert, where we had seats way way up in the nosebleed section. It was a boiling hot day and I was distressingly hung over, so I think I was extra susceptible, but once I sat in my seat and saw how steeply the tiers dropped off to the ground, I was…I guess hysterical would be the appropriate descriptor. I had to crawl out backwards on my hands and knees. But then guest services moved us to the front row, thanks to my sister’s wheeling and dealing. (Solisbury Hill is one of my very favorite songs in the world.)

5. Showers. I’m mostly over this one, but I showered with the curtain partially open and me eyes trained on the door for YEARS AND YEARS after seeing that stupid scene in Psycho. For the same reason, I could not/cannot blowdry my hair in an empty house because it renders me unable to hear the murderers coming.  I’m not putting hairdryers on their own line though, because I’m afraid I’m starting to seem neurotic as I type all of these out.

6. Scary movies. Too many years of babysitting in creepy houses.  I can’t even look at commercials for scary movies. I didn’t sleep for a week after watching The Blair Witch Project, and I threw up during Paranormal Activities, though I am officially blaming that on popcorn.

7. Roller coasters. This one is particularly unfair, because I loved roller coasters my entire life. Ohio has awesome amusement parks, and riding the newest, scariest ride was the high point of every summer. Then, two years ago, I went to Six Flags for the first time and my seat belt/harness broke going up the first hill of a coaster I’d never ridden. It was dark, and for all I knew we were about to loop-the-loop and I would be catapulted to my death. Dying on a roller coaster is not the glamorous end I plan for myself. Soooo declasse.  Plus, I was utterly rigid with terror the whole time I was in that seat and I don’t think I’ll ever get over it.

8. Rabbits. Lore among my friends and family has it that I am afraid of these twitchy little rodents, but it’s more of a strong dislike.  I will scream like I’m being eviscerated if a rat or mouse comes near me, but that’s just human nature.

9. Eardrum bursting. In sixth grade, my friend Jennifer had an ear infection so severe that her eardrum ruptured. She described the feeling “like a bomb going off in her head.”  She was a bit of a drama queen, but I take great pains to knock myself out if I have to fly with congested ears because I tend to freak out a little.

I’m sure I could come up with a tenth, but I think you all get the picture.

What silly things are you afraid of?


18 Responses to “Scared (of) Stupid (Things)”

  1. Cary says:

    I have been privy to your fear of heights. I remember crossing a glass bridge with you in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. I know, I’m mean.

    I’m TERRIFIED of corn fields, too. To this day, I still drive past them just like you describe! Children of the Corn scares the hell out of me! Outlander!

    Great blog post! Happy Halloween!

    • C_girl says:

      Oh, I remember that too, amigo. It scarred me for life when you screamed and dropped to your knees like you had just fallen through the glass. Thanks again!

  2. rooth says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said in entry number 5. Especially regarding hairdryers

  3. Nicole says:

    Birds, OMG, birds. I went to the playground at my kids’ school and there were about a hundred crows all sitting on the equipment. CROWS. Sitting on the equipment. I was sure I was going to meet the maker or at least get my eyes pecked out. Jay-sus. Also, in the FIELD behind that playground there are frequently swarms and swarms of seagulls and I think they are going to kill me.

  4. andi says:

    No shit, I used to be afraid, nay terrified, of parka fur. You know. That nasty fake fur around the hood of a working man’s greengrey nylon parka? When I was a kid I had a recurring nightmare that Satan would sit on my chest with his knees on my shoulders – in the move that every older sibling since the dawn of time has employed to maintain control of the younger ones. He would be holding just the hood of one of those parkas (because they always seem to be removable) and would lean in closer and closer threatening to touch my face with it. I knew that if he actually made contact with my face I would die of insanity.

    The fact that I was more afraid of parka fur than I was of Satan says it all. (Also, Satan has an exoskeleton. Did you know that?)

    Notice all the past tenses? I’m a therapist and when I was learning EMDR we had to let other therapists in the training practice on us. That was the fear I chose to use. Not only do I no longer fear parka fur, but I OWN a parka-style coat with fake fur around the hood. EMDR, it’s the real deal.

  5. Jessica says:

    I didn’t used to be afraid of birds, but this past weekend I was sitting outside eating sushi and a freaking pigeon came flying in out of nowhere and TOOK IT. He took the sushi right out of my hand and almost hit my face. I’m never eating raw fish outdoors again.

  6. I’ve never been on a roller coaster and now you have assured me that I NEVER WILL. (Also: corn? Haaa.) (It’s alright, I’m scared of nail files.)

  7. meridith says:

    I’d just like to say that after seeing Psycho, I showered for the next two years (I am not kidding) with the shower curtain open. i still like to keep and eye on things now and then.

  8. MPinDC says:

    I’m really really afraid of earthworms. I’m passionate about gardening and I love digging in the dirt but worms are creepy.

    Even the word makes me squeamish — in my family, we call them “w’s”

  9. Caroline says:

    “Stupid things–for information on the things I’m really afraid of, such as dying alone and childless and being eaten by cats after not having an orgasm for decades, see every other post on this blog.” = hilarious.

  10. asplenia says:

    Spiders. I’m completely irrational about it. In a freaking HALLOWEEN STORE yesterday, a friend touched me gently on the shoulder in the spider aisle and I leapt out of my skin. That’s how bad it is.

    I don’t love heights, getting lost, the concept of getting smeared into pavement as envisioned last week, and suddenly discovering that every mistake I ever made is far more ruinous than I ever imagined. But spiders are #1.

  11. E says:

    Pigeons. Skyrats. Same thing and I hate them. I’m not scared of them but I have sworn a blood oath against them. It started when I went to Paris for the first time and visited the Eiffel Tower. Be wary of this phallic monument as you may one day find yourself in the city of romance.

    These m-f’ing birds around the tower have become bold and unafraid of the human form. Getting to the park, I bought some lunch from a hot dog vendor french-style. I sat on a bench right under the structure and the these little winged bastards immediately began their approach. One even alighted on the bench near where I set my vittles.

    Well I swung at the diseased avian and he scuttled to the end of the bench but stubbornly didn’t fly away. During this standoff, I mistaken believed I had staked my claim as the superior creature and had lured myself into a false sense of dominion.

    “Surely, that fucker wouldn’t dare try anything,” I mused. So I went back to enjoying my lunch and admiring the giant symbol soaring above me.

    In the split second that my eyes were distracted, my opponent took his chance and with his filthy beak scooped up not one, not two, not three but four french fries and tossed them to the ground. The sonnabitch then swooped to the ground and greedily feasted at my expense with his disgusting friends. I swear I even heard tiny bird laughter as they mocked my stupidity. I knew they had bested me and I tossed the rest of my lunch at them which, of course, was exactly what they wanted. Sneaky fucks.

    If you go to Paris, remember my tale and kick a few of these skyrats for me to re-instill the fear of man back into them.

    • C_girl says:

      My fear of birds started in Paris too! I was 17, in a little plaza by Notre Dame, and I accidentally walked through someone else’s breadcrumb feeding area and they all rose up flapping around my head. I nearly died of horror. Birds in Ohio are much more civilized.

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