The kind of fears that a person knows is ridiculous and if they told anyone, they would be mocked by friends and pitied by strangers. I am a sharer (some times), so may I present for your enjoyment, my fears (and the way I rationalise them so I feel justified in being frightened of such things.)
Irrational fear 1 - I have never been silent on my fear of frogs. I have gotten better with them. Better as in I longer no freeze up and burst into tears, with a bit of dry reaching thrown in for good measure. These days, I jump and look around wildly and will cross the road if there’s a tree frog in the gutter. The other day we had a heap of rain and two days later there were just so many bull frogs around. I counted 7 on my way to the bus stop. Well, I counted 6 and a half; there must have been a car during the night that took one out. The biggest one was about 2 houses up from my place, and I did indeed cross the road to miss it, and ensure that my presence wasn’t noticed by the frog causing him to leap and attack.
Can frogs smell or sense fear? Yes, yes they can. And no amount of science or logic can you tell me suggesting otherwise will I believe.
I got home that afternoon, and as I walked towards my abode, I kept an alert eye out for the frog near my home, and while I know it is wrong to be glad of animal deaths, I am not afraid to admit that when I came upon his squashed body all squashed by a car I pointed at it, and hissed “In your face! In your face hard!!” before remembering that I was in public, and maybe taunting dead animals was not something I want the neighbours to know me for.
I purely blame my fear of frogs (which if you’re interested in that kind of thing, is officially known as ranidaphobia. Bufonophobia is a fear of just toads. Who the hell is just afraid of toads?!?! Toads are just the ugly older brother of the frog. Fear them all!!) on my Nan’s house. Nana K had an outdoor toilet. Nana K only had an outdoor toilet, and when she got elderly, she had what we ‘affectionately’ called a ‘Biddy’, which was this large cane box/seat that had a bucket in it. When Nan ended up in hospital once, all we worried about we who was going to be the person who checked/cleaned the biddy. She didn’t end up with an indoor toilet until she was 82, and had moved into an assisted living complex. She was very happy.
Anyhoo, when I was 4 – I was definitely not at school, so I may have been 3 – I went to the toilet, and while sitting on it I heard a rather loud croak. I jumped up, and in the toilet was a hideous beast, that upon reflection and the distance afforded by time was in all likelihood a tree frog. I screamed, like a 4 year old, and it jumped. IT JUMPED OUT OF THE TOILET!! I opened the door, and ran and I firmly believe it chased me around the back yard. That may not have happened. It may have run for safety. We’ll never know for sure.
But yes, as with all major events when you’re a child, this is stuck with me for over 30 years. In the past a have scaled brick walls to get into my backyard because there was a tree frog on my veranda, walked everywhere for a week as there was a frog in my garage and been trapped on a desk for 40 minutes because a frog had gotten inside at work and it was sitting in the doorway of the office I was in.
Irrational fear 2 – being breathalyzed by the police on the side of the road. Now this is a good fear to have, because it makes you think about what you’ve been drinking, when you drank it, and any consequence’s to being even slightly tipsy. The irrationality of this one is when it’s 5 pm on a Wednesday afternoon and you haven’t had a drink in over a month. Every time I get pulled over for a random breath test, my stomach drops and I hope that I’m not over. However, the chances of my having had even one drink during the week is rare, which means unless someone has been hiding really potently laced rum balls in my morning Weetabix (and I like to think I would notice if my Weetabix at breakfast tasted rum-ish) I’m going to blow 0. So I have a healthy respect for the law, which makes me somehow think that at any stage of the day my blood is spontaneously get saturated with alcohol and I’ll lose my license.
Irrational fear 3 – baths. Now, I am a huge fan of baths. There is nothing nicer than a bath with bubbles, The Doors playing in the background, a lovely glass of white wine and a good book to read while taking said bath. I have problems with baths that a filled, but I’m not in it yet. Or I haven’t emptied the bath ye, and I have my back to it. (This one belongs to my parents. When we were young, for some reason that only made sense to them at that exact moment, my brother and I were allowed to watch “Fatal Attraction”. So having a bath filled with water, and my back to it always reminds me of Glenn Close not being as drowned as Michael Douglas originally thought and her leaping up to stab him. And ever since, I can’t turn my back on a full bath.)
I also have a bit of an issue with emptying the bath. It’s …. the sucking sound and the water swirling down the drain. The horrible, soul clenching sucking sound from out of the drain. And it’s only baths that make that sound. The washing machine tub doesn’t make that noise and neither does the kitchen sink. Or the shower – which USES THE SAME DRAIN HOLE AS THE BATH. I have a fear that some sort of monster is going to come out of the drain and try to drag me in. Hence it being an irrational fear. But the amount of times in horror movies and things evil creatures try to drag a person into a pipe that they clearly aren’t going to fit in is ridiculous!! I can’t even get out of the bath and lean back in to pull the plug out (because something will obviously grab my wrist and yank me back in.) I have to get a face washer and use that as a barrier between my hand and the bath plug ( I don’t know why, I just need that ‘protective’ barrier) , have my free hand on the side of the tub, and as I’m pulling the plug out I get out of the tub. And I get dressed facing the tub so no one can grab me or try to stab me.
The last time my brother and his family came to visit my 3 year old niece wouldn’t have a bath because she was scared either she or her toys would go down the plug hole. And when we gave her brother a bath, when we were done she would ask if any of his toys went down the drain, and if Maxie was okay. Mum and Dad kept trying to convince her it was okay and that no one could actually fit down the drain, and none of her toys were small enough to fit either, and I just quietly sat there not saying how I agreed with her, and was clearly in a sane state of mind to be worried.
So there’s proof that I’ve got the mind of a child right there.
Irrational fear 4 – I’ve more or less grown out of this one, but the irrationality and illogical-ness of this just astounds me and needs to be shared. When I was young (maybe 7-ish) if we were driving at night time on a deserted road, I was always worried that if we were the last car on the highway, someone would drive up behind us and kill us with an axe. (and it was always an axe. I have no idea why.) So I would spend some time looking out the back window to make sure no one was behind us. What makes this especially irrational and illogical, is that if I did see headlights behind us, it would calm me, because, in my mind, instead of making that car the car of the axe-wielding serial killer, and we were definitely going to die a painful and gory death by axe chopping, that car became the last car on the highway and THEY would end up being the unfortunate and tragic victims. These days I look back, and for a single moment I believe it’s the axe murderer coming to finish me off after being thwarting so many times when I was a child. But then I remember that axe murderers probably have better things to do than chase me down after so long. And that that particular axe murderer I’m worried about DOESN’T ACTUALLY EXIST.
Irrational fear 5 – I’ve mentioned before that I’m slightly worried about getting a new car, because all cars come standard with power windows, and there is a part of me that worries I will drown in my car ever runs off a cliff and lands in a river because I couldn’t wind down a window to swim out of. I’m not concerned about the point of impact, or what would have caused me to make my car careen wildly off the road, or even the fact that I don’t have the coordination to pull off calmly taking off my seat belt, getting the window down and swimming out of said window. Even though I always wear a seat belt, I think the force of impact that that take to drive or jump the safety barrier that is on the side of bridges would either wind me or scare me that much I would be frozen in my seat, not able to save myself.
Irrational fear 6 – Escalators and Travelators. Now, this one is a bit tricky, because on one hand I do so love them, but on the other, I have trouble getting on and off them. If there’s no one behind me waiting to get on, I am the kind of person who o lifts their leg, hesitates, tries again, hesitates again, and then just hopes for the best and hops on. Getting off is pretty much the same, except I usually have a bit of a stumble while I try to work out the difference between escalator/ travelator speed and my normal walking speed.
I think this one stems from when I dislocated my knee when I was 14, and I was on crutches. We went on holidays, and at a major shopping centre there were escalators, which I find bothersome, tiring to navigate, and kind of frightening when you’ve already got a banged up knee and it’s the middle of the Christmas shopping season.
Oh – do you guys call them travelators? If you don’t, then you would have no idea what I’m talking about. You know the lazy walk ways they have in airports? So you can go slightly faster for a short amount of time? Or not walk at all while moving at the speed of an elderly’s person’s electric cart. When I finally work out how to get on them, I like to pretend I am either a billionaire off to an important meeting, an ice skater, or just a very fast, smooth and consistent walker. I really bugs me when people don’t walk on them, and stand shoulder to shoulder so I can’t get around them and keep my little dream alive. I don’t mind you not walking, but at least give people room to get around you! I’ve never understood the length of the travelator; they either seem not long enough to be any benefit to anyone, or so long that they bypass all toilet facilities and you need to back track. They really need to think these things through better.