I figured Black Friday was a good time to talk about my fears. One of them would happen to be bargain shoppers with aggressive carriages, frenzied looks in their eyes, and a To Do list taller than I am. I will not tarry with these people, because I am quite aware that my life means nothing next to a forty percent off flat screen TV with two HDMI outputs and a seven year warranty. Accidentally stepping between a shopper and their prized goods could end with me writhing on a Walmart floor, a Bic pen wedged into my jugular and a lake of blood beneath me.
In all seriousness? That level of crowd freaks me out, especially when people have adrenaline shoving its way through their veins. Herd mentality is a No Can Do. I don’t trust group think in the slightest. It’s why you won’t ever see me at a political rally or a protest, either. It’s not that I don’t – care -, it’s that the idea of being lost in a sea of intent, fixated people who believe passionately about something? I just see too many ways that can go wrong. A zillion tweaking folks could be inspired to great heights under such circumstances, yes.
. . . but they could also be too easily caught up and plummet to new lows, too. “Lost in the moment” is what they call it. I’m quite comfortable not being lost, thanks. I’ll be over here sipping a latte (and not one of those cheater soy ones, either) while other people go change the world or kick a puppy because Glenn Beck told them to.
Another fear? Heights. Even looking at picture of heights can destroy me. Chicago has this torture room called Skydeck. Skydeck is a glass veal box jutting out from the 103rd floor of the Sears Tower. You pay money to stand in it and look down so you can see exactly how far you’d fall if someone hated you enough to make you a human lawn dart from 18 zillion feet up. I was going to post a picture of it here, but I was afraid of vertigo every time I clicked on my own site. I’ll pass on that one, methinks.
Now there’s a story that goes along with my fear of heights, and it involves a long-dead amusement park in Rhode Island called Rocky Point. I’ve always had this hang up about tall verticals, and like most normal people I don’t particularly like being afraid of something. Even at thirteen years old (when this tragic event occurred) I was cognizant of how stupid it was to be afraid of heights, especially since I lived in a one story ranch through most of my formative years, and the furthest I went up in high school was to Miss Snipas’s science classroom. So I ventured to Rocky Point with my family and one of my friends. They had this ride there called the Free Fall. It launched you nearly into orbit, let you look around at the park for about three seconds, then let gravity do its thing. I’ll give you the abbreviated version of this story’s ending because I’m sure you can all see where this is going . . .
Next on the list of “things Hillary DOES NOT WANT” . . . wood ticks. This stemmed from a really gross nightmare I had, and though I probably shouldn’t share said nightmare, I’m going to. If you don’t like “icky nasty bogus visuals”, don’t read this paragraph and skip past the next image. In fact, skim for the paragraph starting with the word “Snakes” and you’re good. There, a warning for our home audience. And now back to the fears!
You know how sometimes dreams don’t come back to you until you stumble across an unfortunate trigger, and the next thing you know you’re wide eyed because you recall something you really wished you hadn’t? Maybe you don’t know that feeling,and consider yourself lucky if that’s the case, because this happened to me very unexpectedly when I was at my uncle’s house and saw one of these:
A seeded sunflower gave me a Vietnam-scale flashback of a nightmare in which I shaved someone’s head and it was covered with ticks. You probably already know that blood engorged wood ticks become this really gross beige color. It’s nasty and scary and skeevy and yuck, and my mind correlated the sunflower seed casings with the nightmare and yeah, I was done. Sick, yes? And that’s why I’m terrified of ticks AND . . . sunflowers. Yep. About ten years ago EVERYTHING was sunflowers. I think there was a hugely popular perfume released under that name, and the correlating marketing storm of sunflowers all over every piece of merchandise ever made me froth at the mouth and convulse.
Snakes are another one of my “things”, though I can’t actually tell you where that started, only that I resent this phobia because I understand logically how cool snakes are. A few years ago, me and a sweltering tide of estrogen (Lauren, Sarah, Melinda, Melissa, and Erica) went to New Orleans on vacation. During our adventures, we made a trip to the Audubon Zoo. The Audubon Zoo is one of the coolest places I have ever been; the animals have gorgeous exhibits, there’s flowers and trees everywhere so you almost feel like you’re walking through a park in between seeing the animals. New Orleans in September can be a lot like Florida in that you get these super powered rainstorms that will appear out of nowhere, piss on your head for ten minutes straight, and then simply evaporate. We got caught in one of those storms, and ran for the nearest building that could offer us shelter until the rain stopped.
Why no one noticed it was the Snake House, I can’t say, but it was an ugly realization. On the ceiling of the exhibit they had a stuffed version of the world’s longest anaconda. It spanned two or three rooms and was as wide around as a tree trunk. There were poisonous snakes behind glass all around us, and I nearly started hyperventilating on the spot. I dug my fingernails into Lauren’s shirt and she was good enough to guide me from one end of the exhibit to the other, my eyes closed the entire time. We were doing pretty good there for a while! I managed to get to the last room, my back to the snakes so I could look straight out the door instead of having to turn around and face my scaly nemeses.
Thud. Thud, thud.
You know how the girl in the horror movie should never turn around because inevitably the serial killer is standing right behind her? I never should have turned around. Directly behind me was an albino rattlesnake, its evil red eyes staring at me as it bashed its head off of the glass. To this day Lauren says the thing smelled my fear and that’s why it started to go apeshit in its snake cage. That was it for me. I freaked out and ran outside in the rain, opting to wear wet, soggy pants all day (and actually get a rash for my efforts) instead of standing around in that snake building for one moment longer. The rash was worth it.
So tell me, Studio Audience, got any hang ups you want to share with the class?