In honor of this month's Write-Away Contest I'm tackling things that scare me--and there are a few items on the list that get me mocked from time to time around here but whoever said neuroses are logical?
1. Potty training. Parenthood itself doesn't worry me or scare but tell me that I've got to get my a two year-old to sleep dry through the night and I'm quivering in the corner.
2. Driving on narrow two-lane highways. This sounds silly and it's not as if we're talking full-blown phobia here but so many car accidents happen on two-lane highways that I get nervous whenever I drive down to Girdwood or Seward. There's always some hotshot in a truck scaring everyone and every year there are deaths--enough that I'm careful and cautious while enjoying the scenery. I still remember the story years back when a Toyota Forerunner went off the road and into the inlet and the father driving couldn't rescue his child out of the car seat before the icy waters got them. Never found the car. Am I morbid? Or am I just a mom? You be the judge. I also get nervous about driving long distances when it's very cold, I worry about the car breaking down and being stuck somewhere with children in 10 below temperatures. Again, a mom thing I guess.
3. Yucky movies. By this I don't mean movies that are suspenseful or frightening--which I love--but movies that focus on evil stuff. Slasher movies or movies like The Exorcist or The Omen or even The Ring. It's not so much that they scare me so much as they make me feel dark. That's about the only way to describe it--dark. Don't like 'em. Don't watch 'em.
4. Swimming in the ocean. More specifically, swimming in the deep parts of the ocean where you can't see your feet and the seaweed brushes against your legs like tentacles . . . yuck. I've been snorkeling in deep water but it was so clear that 80 feet looked like five and the water was more like a bath tub than murky blackness waiting to suck you down, dragging you to its depths . . . and my kids wonder why I don't like swimming that much. I wouldn't want to go scuba diving because I'd feel claustrophobic with all that water around me. You ever seen the movie Open Water? You can bet I won't, Finding Nemo is more my speed.
5. Eels. Maybe this goes with the ocean thing but I don't like eels. I'm okay with snakes but eels not so much. When Andrew and I were honeymooning he decided to go snorkeling under the dock where there was a lot of coral. An eel popped out at him and you've never seen someone scramble out of the water so fast so maybe I'm not alone in this.
6. Rays. Speaking of eels, I'm even less fond of rays. Last time we were at Sea World there was a sting ray exhibit (right next to the eel exhibit) where you could pet the rays in the shallow water. My kids kept trying to get me to put my hand in but no way, no how was that going to happen. They're all creepy with their flappy, batty wings and their sucker mouths underneath and their tails that may or may not have stingers because I can remember which rays are which. If you don't believe that rays are not to be trusted just ask the Crocodile Hunter--he'll tell you.
7. Impromptu Public Speaking. Not to be confused with plain old public speaking which I'm generally okay with, no I mean being called on to say a few words without any notice. That isn't going to work. Isn't that why I like to write? Because I can mull over each word, carefully selecting and weeding through the English language like a bargain hunter at a flea market stall? I don't do well when I'm supposed to say something off the cuff so I avoid that like that plague.
8. Andrew leaving. This is totally insane and I recognize that completely but when we were first married I would have these nightmares that Andrew was leaving me. I'd wake up sweaty and upset and very, very angry. It would especially bother Andrew because he'd wonder what unconscious signals he was sending to make me worry so subliminally about his loyalty. Eventually after years of marriage and becoming more confident those dreams stopped but they always worried me. Not any more, but given my history it's worthy of a spot on the list.
9. Going under our deck. We've had trouble with our kitchen getting very cold in winter and with the remodel this spring Andrew went down in the crawlspace to investigate why it was so frigid in our cupboards. He determined that there was this area underneath the deck where there is plenty of cold air being allowed to circulate and insulation needed to be installed. I couldn't believe he was brave enough to crawl down under there in that little tiny dusty, cobwebby, daddy-long-leg-infested, dirty space to fix things but he didn't seem to have too much of a hang-up about it. Though he did say when he emerged that he fully had expected to find a body down there or something, it was that spooky. He's my hero.
10. Having to sing in public. Public speaking is fine but tell me I have to sing and I'll go pale and need a defibrillator. I took piano lessons all those years so that I could hide behind a piano and not need to sing a note. Of course that doesn't mean I'm not belting out my favorites when I'm in the car or doing my cleaning. "Here I am . . . Rock you like a hurricane . . . "
11. Needles. It's not as if I've been able to avoid them but needles aren't my favorite thing. When I was going into labor with Grace the nurses asked if I had any requests and the only thing I could come up with was "no I.V. please." They thought I was loopy to care about that and laughed at me.
Last week I had a wart taken off of my finger and was doing alright until the doctor started his commentary of the procedure. "Wow! This thing is really deep! Look at the size of that!" etc. etc. I started getting hot around the ears and very sweaty and suddenly I was on my back staring up at the ceiling. The only thing good to come of it (besides being wart-free) was the wound that was deeply impressive to my sons who wanted to look at it. I'm suddenly cool if I've got an open wound the size of New Hampshire on the side of my finger.
12. Pain. When I was expecting Grace I was scared of the impending birth and worried that I'd be able to handle the pain. Things went fine and I was able to deal with everything but I think pain is scary because it can control you--your heart rate, your emotions, your physical nature--and it's an unknown. It sure makes me glad to live in a day where there's modern medicine: aspirin, penicillin, Novocain, all those things that make our lives so comfortable. I've thought that people who lived before all these things must have just lived with constant pain. You know that scene in Castaway when Tom Hanks takes out his own tooth? I can't watch it.
13. Dragonflies. Here we are at the last item and what is it? Dragonflies. Not war, catastrophe or the collapse of civilization as we know it, just a rather large insect that my kids like to capture. They think it's hysterical that these things scare me but in my defense 1) They're HUGE, 2) they're like helicopters with hovering capabilities, 3) they're unpredictable and can come at you from any angle, 4)they're not afraid of you and will land on you if you let them and 5) they don't call them DRAGON flies for nothing.
This summer I was with Spencer and David at cub scout camp and while waiting for them on a grassy lawn I looked up at the nearby cabin and it was covered with dragonflies. Let me make that COVERED with dragonflies. There must have been 500 of them resting all over the sunbaked siding of the house, just enjoying the light and waiting until I wasn't looking to dive in for the kill.
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