Andrew Snowdon

Petrified

In Uncategorized on Saturday 5 September 2009 at 12:48

Gather round, Universe: it’s time for a laugh.

Phobias are funny—to everyone else. Oh, come on. No matter how sensitive you may be, at least once in your life, you’ve suppressed a giggle at someone tearing down the sidewalk away from snakes, rats, clowns or whatever it is you’re not afraid of. Admit it.

Some phobias make a certain amount of sense. Fear of flying, for instance, seems justified when, on occasion, these great metal pressurized tubes spiral down out of the sky and spread their contents on the surface of the ocean. Fear of water? You could theoretically drown in the stuff. Fear of commitment? What if you do the wrong thing?

I have four particular fears that I’m aware of. Probably there are more, but I am well acquainted with these ones, and in the interests of brightening everyone’s day, I’d like to share them with you.

Fear of bees
I’m afraid of bees. This is actually pretty common; I know plenty of people who are afraid of bees. Some of them are allergic to bees, which makes it a very rational fear for them. I don’t even know if I’m allergic to bees because I will risk a human life, including my own, to get away from them. There’s also the matter of what constitutes a “bee”. To me, a bee is any unidentified buzzing noise, or anything not positively identified as not a bee/wasp/hornet. It’s quite a regular occurrence for other people to watch me devolve into St. Vitus’ Dance on the sidewalk, even running into traffic, because of a potential bee. With a wet towel at the base of the door, I have barricaded myself into the bathroom as a response to a bee in the house. Once, I screamed “It’s a wasp of hornet bees!“—in all seriousness—and abandoned the stroller I was pushing to run, shivering, shaking and brushing myself, away. Just away.

Fear of the knock on the door
Nothing ruins my day like an unexpected knock on the door. It could be the police, it could be the health inspector, it could be itinerant religion salespeople, it could be Girl Guides. It could be my nice neighbour down the hall who claims to be a budding horror film director, but is likely just a lonely hipster. I’m not afraid of any of these people. I just dread that knock on the door, to a degree that would make Anne Frank roll her eyes in disgust. On occasion, I’ve hidden in the bathroom from these too (without the wet towel).

Fear of calling people on the phone
This one I tried to overcome by becoming a call centre agent. If anyone else has this fear, may I recommend you do not pick a survey market research company. Pick a bank or a credit card company. Ten years later? I am still petrified of making phone calls. I hardly even answer the phone, even if I know who it is. There are about four people who are exceptions to the rule, and even that number is dwindling. Calling my voicemail is stressful. My wonderful, new flat-top stove is unpacked, plugged-in, clean and ready to go, but it has no power and it scares me too much to call the superintendent who lives two floors down and is friendly. If only I knew his e-mail address.

Fear of events
No, not of things happening. It’s a fear of concerts, shows, conventions, parties and the like. This one really drives me (and everyone else, I imagine) up the wall. Someone will invite me to something, and I will agree because I want to go. Then, as the event approaches, I will get very generally anxious. My personality changes. I start arguments and fights with the people I’m going with. I back out, change my mind, agree to go again, and generally exhibit a classic nervous breakdown. Why? It’s not the electric chair, it’s a rock concert. Still, every time I agree to go to something I think it will be different. Somehow, it never is. Lord knows the relationship trouble I get into as a result, not to mention that I miss a lot of good concerts. The kicker? Once I’m there (if I manage to get there without alienating everyone in the city), I usually have a great time. If only there were some way to pass out when I receive the invitation, and wake up at the show, everything would be fine.

Probably everyone has something they’re afraid of. Some people have fears that seriously hamper their ability to lead a normal, fulfilling life. Maybe you, too, are one of these people. I only hope that you find your fears as side-splittingly hilarious as I find mine.

If you’ll excuse me, I’m going into the bathroom to make sure the window is shut, turning off my phone and declining some Facebook invites.

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  1. I just randomly found this while searching for “fear of concerts” and I wanted to say that I completely understand your fear of events. I commonly experience exactly the same thing that you’ve described–at first I thought it was agoraphobia, but then I can spontaneously wade through a huge crowd without any problems. So now you know that there is at least one more person out in the world who sympathizes with your plight.

  2. “Once, I screamed “It’s a wasp of hornet bees!“—in all seriousness—and abandoned the stroller I was pushing to run, shivering, shaking and brushing myself, away. Just away.”

    Away (from the housefly) AND into four lanes of traffic. You’re welcome for stopping you (by way of wheeling you around and further away from the potential bee).

    Also: outlining the other three? Thank you. That’s not sarcastic. SO MUCH makes frigging sense, now…

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