Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Things I am most afraid of

Over the years, the list of things I am afraid of has grown shorter and shorter. While I hope I am still around to see my kids get married, and to see my grandchildren grow up (if I ever have any), I would not say I have a fear of not seeing those things happen.

My fears are far more irrational. I fear deep, empty spaces. I can't think of the name for that right now, but I just don't like looking at empty tanks, deep gorges or pits of any sort. I remember when the man-made Wolf Lake near where I grew up was under development and seeing the deep pit of sand before the water was allowed to flow into it from the adjacent lake was quite eerie to me.

I don't like centipedes and their hundred wriggling legs. We have those in our basement sometimes and SHIVER, shit are they creepy! I hate trying to kill the little sons-o-bitches when they come upstairs once in awhile. There is no way to catch the suckers. You have to get a huge shoe and hope your aim is good and your hit is on the mark the very first time or they are gone into your cabinets or under the counters somewhere to lurk and come back out again when you least suspect it.

The huge exhibit "The Mechanical Man" exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago is also creepy. It looks like the top of one of those water tanks and you have to go inside it to watch a film. Everyone sits in a semi-circle and there is a screen in the middle. I felt weak before going inside, but actually being inside was worse. I felt all cold and clammy after about five minutes and had to leave. I couldn't stand it.

I have never been on an airplane. My husband, kids, mother, father, sister, brothers and their families have ALL been on a plane, including my little great nieces and nephew who are all ages 5 and under. I wonder if I can go my whole life avoiding it. I would love to see Europe and Australia someday, but I never will if I can't overcome flight fright. 911 did nothing to help matters. I know that there is more of a chance of dying in a car crash than an airplane crash, but just the thought of all that weight just hanging there mid-air gives me the willies.

Natural gas that is piped into homes for heating and cooking also makes me very frightened at times, particularily when hubby is working on the stove, furnace or gas fireplace. Our stove recently had a problem and the burner wasn't coming on for the oven. He got right in there with tools and a flashlight and kept turning the ignitor on and off, on and off. I went to the far end of the house while he was fooling with that (as if that would do any good if the house was leveled from an explosion!)

My fears as a child were even more irrational than they are now. Like I said, I have mellowed with age. I was afraid of the stupidest things. Like open car hoods. It looked like a mouth opening to me. It didnt' help that my father once found a bird in his engine, so naturally I thought the car ate the bird somehow. It was all oily and nasty looking. I now know that the bird must have climbed up inside and got stuck and died, but a little kid can't reason that way.

One day when I was about three-years-old, the people next door had to take their toilet outside for some reason. I was outside playing and I went around to that side of the yard and looked over the fence and saw the toilet sitting there and knew it didn't belong there in the grass and started bellowing my head off! I ran inside and sacrificed playtime because of my unreasonable fear of displaced toilets.

I was afraid of other things that most children are afraid of, imaginary monsters under the bed, ghosts looking in the windows of my bedroom, possible vampires or werewolfs getting into my room somehow, or the boogerman who lived under the ground who might just reach up and grab me if I was bad. But the thing I was MOST afraid of that has stayed with me to this day is a fear of DRAGONFLIES. I hate them.

Dragonflies are the most frightening-looking creatures to me that I have ever encountered. I am talking not about the thin, pale-blue pretty ones with the dainty wings. I am talking about the big, fat dark ugly ones that are about the size of a sparrow with the huge-ass wings and the really huge eyes. SHIVER, SHIVER SHIVER, just thinking about them...and even looking at the above image takes my breath away! When I was little, one landed on my chest and all I could do was scream "get it off get it off get it off get it off!!!!!" My sister and I used to take the clothes off the clothesline and bring them inside and fold them. While digging through the basket, once in awhile we would find one of those suckers attached to an article of clothing and would make me almost pass out in fear! I am still that way. If I am outside swimming in our pool, and one of those things comes hovering overhead, I dive underneath until it is gone. I know I am bigger than it is, but it doesn't matter. I am terrified of them!

If I had to choose between flying in a plane, walking in the bottom of an empty swimming pool or lake, sitting through a show of the Mechanical Man at the museum, I would choose all of the above before I would consider letting anyone put a dragonfly on me.

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