Monday, November 19, 2007

5 Random Things of Which I Am Afraid

by Susan Seyfarth

Here are, in no particular order, five random things of which I am afraid:

1. Snakes

And it's not the biting thing, really. It's that they have no legs, & yet are so very, very fast. This is a violation of some kind of natural law. If you're on land, & you're moving extremely fast, you should have legs. At least two, if not four. Or more. But to have none & still go faster than I can? This is wrong. Deeply, deeply wrong, & very disturbing.

2. Drains

Any kind of drain. Swimming pool, bath tub, storm drain. I'm not worried about getting sucked down. I'm worried about something unauthorized coming back up. Something alive. Something slimy. Something...pipe shaped. Oh lord. (see fear #1 if you can't decide where I'm going with this.)

3. The Ocean

I once went for a swim in a little lake near my house & had a blue gill mistake a mole on my back for a tasty treat. This tiny, toothless fish attacked me like it was auditioning for a part in Piranhas, the Movie. I believe I may have actually have leapt up out of the water & run across the surface all the way back to land while my husband looked on in bemused fascination. If a blue gill can do this to me, I don't even want to know what might happen should I attempt to share water space with sharks, jelly fish, or sting rays. Or, God forbid, eels. (Which brings us back to Fear #1, the water version. Only this time it IS about the biting.)

4. The Telephone

I find talking on the phone very stressful, especially to people I don't know well. I have a hard enough time making small talk with people I can see, but to sit there & try to figure out how a conversation is going without any visual cues? Eeeesh. You can't imagine how hard I resisted cell phones. I finally broke down, but I swear it's like putting a phobia in my purse & letting it stalk me all day.

5. The Mackinac Bridge

This is the bridge that connects Michigan's Upper & Lower Peninsulas. It's four lanes wide & the middle two are grates. Seriously. You can see through them to the water below. When I was a kid, a Yugo blew off. I didn't witness the event myself, but I don't care. They swear it wasn't the wind, that the driver lost control, but I refuse to drive on the grated lanes. I'm an asphalt girl, all the way. And even so, I sweat from one peninsula to the other.

Come on, admit it. You have some weird fears, too. Tell us! We won't laugh, promise.


Caren Crane said...

Color me crowing along with the Golden Rooster. Ha!

Caren Crane said...

Susan, I have more fears I will share later, but the big one is moths. Yes, moths. I don't fear them as much as I used to, but they fly and have a really random flight pattern. You never know when one will end up in your hair!

Same thing with crickets, especially camelback crickets. Aaaaah! They jump! Randomly!!

Christie Kelley said...

Susan, what an interesting post. I'm with you on a couple though. Snakes don't bother me, but talking on the phone to people I don't know--hate it! Probably why I'm not a great real estate agent. Or that and the introvert thing.

Bridges bother me too. Not all of them, but I live in an area where you must cross some bridges. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge which connects the eastern and western shores of Maryland is one of them. The bridge is actually two bridges, one for east bound, one for west. Traffic gets so bad on weekends during the summer that you are literally stopped on the bridge for what seems like hours. Then it gets even better. In order to ease the congestion, they take the 3 west bound lanes and turn one of them into an east bound lane. So you're driving with two lanes of traffic coming at you. And don't even get me started about the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (20 miles of bridge and tunnels).

Big spiders also creep me out. I'm okay with the small ones. But we used to get wolf spiders in our house in Delaware. These things are huge. My cat cornered one and the darned thing looked like it was going to attack her.

Caren Crane said...

Susan, I also totally get the ocean thing. I mean, you never know what's out there, lurking. Nothing like getting caught up in a pod of jellyfish!

Plus, riptides. What's fun about those? Getting sucked out to sea is not my idea of a good time. Something really scary? How about in 'Castaway' when Tom Hanks was in the middle of the Pacific on that tiny raft and a whale came up beside him. Aaaaaah!!!

But I think lakes are worse, in a way. There is a reason they feature those in horror movies, you know. In the southeast, lakes are almost all mud-bottomed. So they tend to be kind of brown and very murky. Anything could live in there.

In Switzerland, the lakes in the Alps were gorgeous. They were turquoise and crystal clear, because the bottom of the lake was all stone. Gorgeous! I'll bet they never made a horror movie about one of those. *g*

doglady said...

Customers. At Wal-Mart. On a Saturday. EEEEEEEEEK I live in a very small town in Alabama. It is my contention that there are people up in the hills and out on the dirt roads that only come to town once a week on Saturdays. Cue the music from Deliverance. SHUDDER Fire frightens me. When we were shipped to England (Air Force)I was 9 years old. They put us up in this wonderful hotel that had been a grand estate. The house and gardens were gorgeous. The week we arrived a similar hotel @100 miles away burned to the ground and a lot of people died because the exits were chained shut. I have had a fear of fire, particularly in hotels, ever since. Animals never bother me. I have had snakes, lizards and spiders as pets, including a 13 foot 100 plus pound python named Big Mama.

Caren Crane said...

Doglady, Wal-Mart customers in a small town can be quite scary. My grandmother lives in a small town where Wal-Mart is the only big retailer in the area. People really do come out of the woodwork. Especially around Christmas, when even the most reclusive people are forced to buy gifts. Thank you for your brave service!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Susan, not to laugh at your fears, but the constant referral to item #1 cracked me up!

And I do have a great fear of driving over bridges, overpasses and tunnels. I don't mind riding on them, it's the me-behind-the-wheel thing I don't like.

Which made our moving trip from Florida to Dallas rather interesting. On day 2 of the trip, I had to drive the 8 mile bridge from Pensacola to Mobile, (which goes out into the Mobile Bay), and then down into a tunnel. Thank goodness the kids were too sleepy to bug me. Then we got to Baton Rouge...and had to cross the Mississippi! So I thought to myself, "I'll just drive to Lafayette and rest for the night before I have to drive the 26 mile bridge in Louisianna that my husband warned me about the first night."

EXCEPT! He didn't mention it was between Baton Rouge and Lafayette!!!!!!!!@#!#@$$@!@$!!

So here I am driving along, and realize I'm ON THE FRIGGIN BRIDGE. Well it wasn't too bad...the tree tops looked like grass, so I just kept going, UNTIL the trees disappeared and I could see the SWAMP beneath!! By the time I got off that bridge my hands were sweaty and my heart was beating so loudly they should've heard it in New Orleans!

p226 said...

Heheheh, ok, I'll fess up. But first, a bit of fun with #1.

Must've been three weeks ago. My sister comes walking into the house. "That's funny."

I'm clueless. "What's funny?"

"That toy snake your boy put right beside the sidewalk outside."

With a grin. "No, stupid, all of his toy snakes are in his room."

With a decidedly nervous look: "Nuh uh!"

"Yuh huh."

Her voice begins to rise in pitch and volume... "I just walked right past it! Not six inches from my foot! TELL ME THAT'S A TOY SNAKE!"

"Hmmm... I should get my camera." Her face was ghost white by this point.

So I went outside, and the five foot black snake was completely cooperative while I photographed him repeatedly. Then he got annoyed with the camera flashes and cruised on back towards the woods. My sister still twitches subtly when I mention it.

Now on to #3....

I once stepped on a shark. Right on his back. He was not pleased. He swished his tail (nearly throwing me on my butt) and scooted out from under me. I remember being decidedly nervous that a four foot shark was in 2.5 feet of water.


Ok, now that I've certainly freaked you out a little I'll share one about ME being freaked out.

In boot camp they have an obstacle called the A frame. It's huge. I think it's about 60 feet up over logs and various gaps and such which terminates with an A frame sticking up and forward with a rope hanging from the end. You have to reach out about three feet over open space to grab that rope and descend.

I have a terrible, awful irrational fear of falling. I get shaky on stepladders. Not heights mind you. Altitude doesn't bother me. But if I could possibly fall off of something, I'm nervous. But I reached out there in space, 60 feet off the ground and grabbed that rope. You have to do what you have to do. Even if you're terrified.

One guy in our platoon, we'll call him "Smith." He got to the top of the "A" and froze. Wouldn't budge. Drill Instructors are up on the obstacle screaming at him to grab the rope. Drill Instructors are below screaming "Smith! You're GONNA FALL! You're going to FREAKIN DIE RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW ON MY OBSTACLE. YOU ARE GOING TO DIE!"

He stayed there too. Until the MPs showed up and threatened to SHOOT him off the obstacle. When he finally reached out and grabbed the rope (under threat of being shot off the thing) they cuffed and stuffed him and took him away for failing to obey a direct order.

Gotta love the military. *g*

Caren Crane said...

P226, I feel bad for Smith. I mean, you can only control your fear so much. But I can see the military's point. They need to know soldiers will obey orders under any conditions and without hesitation. Still kind of sucks. Especially since the guy managed to actually do it, even if it was under threat of gunfire. *g*

And you are terrible for teasing your poor sister! Snakes don't particularly bother me, but I understand why people are scared of them. But crickets....*shudder*

Caren Crane said...

Suz, I know those bridges! I think the one into Mobile goes from Spanish Fort, AL over to Mobile, if I recall correctly. My father lived in Fairhope, which was south of Spanish Fort and Daphne, so we had to take that bridge to go to the airport in Mobile. Pensacola is an hour away from Fairhope. Now that would be a bridge! *g*

The one in Louisiana, though. You should just take a nap and let someone else drive that monster. It's horrible and it feels like it will never end. Poor Suz!

p226 said...

What? Crickets?

Help me out here. How is one afraid of crickets?

Suzanne Welsh said...

Caren...see how badly I hate bridges? I blocked out the drive from Pensacola to Spanish Fort! LOL

As for letting someone else drive, hubby was already in Texas and the only other people were 3 teen agers without driver's licenses!

Oh you should see me avoid the mile high overpasses in Dallas!

M. said...

can't say that i have any particularly interesting fears (the best I can say is that I'm not fond of rodents and think I should get mother of the year award because I let my 9yearold babysit the pair of rats that were his class pets one weekend), but I love the expression "...putting a phobia in my purse to stalk me". I hope you're going to put that in your manuscript.

Susan Seyfarth said...

Ooooh, moths. Yeah. The little ones don't bother me, but the big ones have some meat to 'em. They, uh, *crunch* in the most off putting way when you're forced to finally employ lethal measures....

And crickets! I can't say I've ever been afraid of them, but I once accidentally ran through a...gosh, I'd have to say it was a flock or an infestation or something. I was charging across a field for some reason. Making a break for it during capture the flag or tag or whatever. They were totally camouflaged until I ran on top of them, & then holy buckets they were popping up all over the place. It was like jogging in Jiffy Pop. :-) ARe you cringing, Caren??

MsHellion said...

Snakes do it for me! I will lose my mind if I see even a picture of one. You don't know what kind of courage it took to remain on the blog page to continue reading your bit! (And it's the lack of leg thing too!)--and the thing is--I don't have this problem with LIZARDS. And what's a lizard? It's a snake with legs! So what's the deal? The Geico commercials are a riot...but if a snake was their spokesman, I'd turn the channel every time, British accent or no.

Other random, curious fears: possums. I didn't realize I was actually scared of the little buggers, but if I see one at night, I will turn and run the other direction as quickly as I can go. Ugly things! Ugh.

Blind dates. I go on them, perhaps as way to get over my phobia of them, but invariably, something bad will happen and remind me why I hate them in the first place. I'm always afraid I'll end up on a date with someone who's a pig killer...or I'm related to and didn't know it. Or both.

Oh, and RATS. God, I hate rats. Worse than possums. Same nasty looking tail on the pair of them too!

Christie Kelley said...

p226...I'm laughing only because the same thing happened to me. My son who was 3 at the time came in from the garage and said there was a snake in the garage. I laughed and said it was his older brother's rubber snake. He shook his head and said no, it's not. I walk out there and in the middle of my garage is a little brown snake.

The best snake story was when we lived in Delaware (are you seeing a problem here--wolf spiders, snakes). My husband went out back and noticed what looked like a large brown belt on the steps up to the deck. He went to pick it up and the belt moved (insert girl-like scream here). This snake was at least 4 ft long. Hubbie takes the hose and sprays the thing until it slithers off to the woods. And yet I'll take a snake over a large spider any day of the week.

Christie Kelley said...

mshellion, I met my husband (of 23 yrs) on a blind date.

Beth said...

Great post, Susan! My mother-in-law is terrified of snakes. When she and my father-in-law were first married, he (being the super big tease he was) asked her to get his cigarettes out of his coat pocket. She put her hand in and yes, he had a snake in there! She about skinned that man alive *g*

I have some great pictures of my son and about six of his buddies - they slept out and made breakfast over the camp fire and found a nest of baby snakes. So there they were, holding a baby snake in one hand and happily chomping on toast in the other :-)

Keira Soleore said...

Cockroaches. Creepy crawlies with huge brown hard bodies that go CRrrr-unchhhh when you step on them and white phelgmy goo seeps out instead of blood.

Have you ever sat on a stool for a bath and feel antennae tickling your backside, only to jump up to see this huge....... ?

My stomach's tight, my face is scrunched up, and I have goosebumps all over even as I write this.

Beth said...

Mshellion, I HATE possums! They are like giant rats on steroids. And they're mean. Yuck.

Claudia Dain said...

The thing about all these fears (ALL) is that they're so logical. At least they seem very logical to me. I'd have a hard time ranking my various fears into the top five, random five is so much easier!

Cockroaches, big spiders, big insects of any kind (crickets), rats, deep water, high bridges, falling, anything that bites, anything that crawls, anything that skitters.

Did I go over my limit of five? Oops.

Beth said...

My fears include:

Rodents of any kind. Am I the only one who notices how rodent-like raccoons are?

Those flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz. Now that is just not natural.

Having my face covered when I'm sleeping. There's just not enough air under the covers.

MsHellion said...

Christie: Really? Cool. I met my *4th* cousin on a blind date. And I also met a guy who likes to shoot pigs, no kidding. There was the blind date who told me, after he asked me what I wrote, I wrote soft core porn. And there was the sweet guy who at the end of our date said: "I'm looking for a love like the Titanic, and you're not it." (This was after watching the Titanic, of course.) So really I'm not very good at dating, period...but especially blind ones! Eek.

MsHellion said...

Beth: Raccoons are mean too...and hiss. They're only cute on Disney movies.

Caren Crane said...

Mshellion and Beth, possums are horrible! Not only ugly and mean, but they refuse to die! I mean, you can beat one with an iron fire poker until the poker is bent and those things will still be twitching. *ahem*

Caren Crane said...

P226, here's the thing. Regular crickets are bad enough. As stated, they jump completely at random. You could end up with a cricket in your hair and then what? I don't freak out if I see them, but I avoid them. The camelback crickets are HUGE and they can jump really far. They are also extra ugly. Blech!

Raccoons don't bother me, for some reason. Yes, they hiss and they are mean, but they are cute. Also, the Japanese have a dog that looks exactly like a raccoon. It's called a tanuki. It figures in their folklore, but is an actual dog. Freaky.

Caren Crane said...

Keira, have you ever seen palmetto bugs? They are basically cockroaches that fly. And yes, they do often seem to be gunning for one's hair! Are you seeing a pattern in my thing about bugs? *g*

Caren Crane said...

Beth, my sleeping thing is, I can't sleep with my leg outside the covers. Not even a pinky toe. I guess it was my father's fault for reading that "Little Orphant Annie" poem by James Whitcomb Riley. You know:

"An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
Ef you

Yes, my father loved to scare us when we were little.

Anna Campbell said...

Actually, reading this made me realize I've conquered a lot of my irrational fears. I've been cursed with the world's most vivid imagination. I go from picking a rose to dying of blood poisoning while people cry around my hospital bed within the space of a blink. Which means I can get halfway up a hill and realize I could die and that's it, I freeze. Not fun to go walking with! Anyway, when I was a kid, I was scared of escalators and steps. A real problem. I'd get upstairs somewhere and then have to fight awful panic to get back down again. Yes, pathetic! Keira, I'm scared of big tropical cockroaches too and we have them here! Ugh, that white goo that comes out of them. I'm scared of the big grasshoppers that eat my roses although I can kill them with secateurs. I just can't touch them. Too dry and crackly and evil looking. I'm scared of preying mantises (but strangely, spiders and snakes don't particularly freak me out). P226, I'm scared of things I can fall off too - even if it's a couple of inches. So crossing a board over a creek is a real ordeal for me. I'm terrified of driving which is probably the big one - so basically I don't. Which in a car culture like Australia is a major issue! Yeah, that's probably the big one. I'm scared of those machines of death called cars. Not as a passenger but if I'm nominally in control. I'm not so worried about what I'd do to me but what I'd do to some poor sod who gets in my way. Still, public transport is good for the planet, huh?

Great post, Susan!

Nancy said...


Interesting idea. I think my biggest fear is probably flying. I've been there, done that, enough that it shouldn't bother me, but it does. I scrunch up inside on takeoff and landing. Sailing along is fine. Unless we hit turbulence.

Congrats to Caren on the rooster. A morning person strikes!

P226, I'm with your sister. Eeew! I mean, I know black snakes are our sort-of allies in snakedom, but they still slither!

I love bridges--or I did, until that one in Michigan collapsed. I love the view. Reaching the Carolinas coast requires going over bridges and causeways, and some are high to let ships pass under. I love the view as the car crests the top and the ocean is spread out before me.

Used to love the ocean but have seen and heard too many icky stories like p226's. When someone who's surf-fishing near where I'm swimning catches a shark, I'm outta the water in a heartbeat!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, girls, when you do finally get yourselves over here, black snakes are POISONOUS in Oz! One killed my horse! No kidding. If it's green, it's generally benign. There are also deadly poisonous brown snakes but what's really sad is that there's a brown legless lizard and people often kill those thinking they're the poisonous snakes and actually they're the good guys. It's a bit like that Larsen cartoon of the deer with the target on his chest and the other deer saying, "Bummer of a birthmark, Floyd!"

MsHellion said...

A legless lizard? Isn't that a snake?

*shudders at the black snakes down under* Yes, I've heard of the black snakes down there! Most poisonous snake around...and one of the top reasons why Oz doesn't make my list of places I have to visit. I'm afraid of stepping off the plane and being greeted by one of those buggers. Totally irrational, I know.

Are the brown snakes the ones the came from Guam? Those breeders that no one can get rid of?

Anna Campbell said...

MsHellion, I've got a feeling the Guam snakes are green, aren't they? And they're not poisonous, or I don't think they are. Our brown snakes are deadly! Hey, does that mean you're not coming to see me? What a cruel blow!

MsHellion said...

Hmm, I think the Guam snake is the same as the brown snakes you have...maybe they imported them (accidentally) from you guys?

Your brown snakes are the #2 deadliest snakes; and your black snake (Mulga) is #3! They're just behind the cobra (*full body shudder*)--I mean, look at the odds here. One lone continent, not even the biggest continent--and you have 2 of the 3 most deadliest snakes! You have to be a total badass to live in Oz!

Susan Seyfarth said...

Okay, I'm back! I had a house full of toddlers all morning, but it's nap time now & I'm checking the blog!

Christie -- THANK YOU for admitting the phone thing. Snakes, drains, bridges -- nothing really weird there, but the phone? I'm fine in person, but the phone kills me.

And sitting on a bridge for hours in rush hour traffic?? Jeez. I might've been okay with that (as long as my lane was asphalt & not SEE THROUGH thank you very much) had we not just had a major bridge collapse here in the Twin Cities. My husband drove across that thing three hours before it went down, too. I bet I'm not the only one sweating bridges these days. Did you know that some states have people on stand by to drive your car across bridges for you? There's a nominal fee, but isn't that a great service??

Susan Seyfarth said...

Doglady --

I'm rolling on the floor over the Wal Mart customers. I lived in Very Small Town East Texas for a couple years, & I know what Wal Mart on a Saturday is like. Especially when it's not just a Wal Mart, but also the center of the civilized universe for the surrounding two hundred miles or so. Eeeeeyikes. :-)

Helen said...

I too am scared of snakes and I don't like heights or elevators much rather use escalators.I am another one who doesn't like talking on the phone to people I don't know I am OK with people I know.
Great post
Have Fun

Susan Seyfarth said...

Suzanne-- you get a purple heart for bridge bravery above & beyond the call of duty. And your husband owes you something wonderful in recognition of your courage. A twenty six mile bridge? At that point, wouldn't a ferry be more practical??

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, MH, didn't you know I'm a total badass? Snork!

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, and you should meet Ms Wells! She's badass times ten!!! Really scary! Double snork! Scandal's Daughter was originally titled Big Scary Bikie's Daugher with PMT Toting a Full Loaded Machine Gun!

Jennifer Y. said...

I don't have a lot of fears really. Although I do understand your fear of the telephone. I hate talking on the phone. I don't answer it if I don't have to...LOL It might have something to do with me being an introvert...don't know...just don't like the phone. I think I must take after my dad...he is the same way. He doesn't answer the phone at all.

Susan Seyfarth said...

P226 -- I'm sorry it took me so long to comment on your post. I've only just now regained consciousness. I got as far as your stepping on a shark & that was it. :-)

Now, about the snake thing. I fought hard against my snake phobia. When I was teaching outdoor ed down in TX, I worked like crazy to conquer this fear. I eventually learned to give the snake demo, actually passed around (with completely false calm) the corn snake & hog nosed snake we had in captivity. But during my first month or so on the job, I ran across a snake in a leaf pile & decided to push myself. I thought to myself, I can do this. I am not afraid. So I gathered the kids around & pointed out the snake. Talked about adaptive coloring. See how this snake is almost exactly the color of these dead leaves? And it was. It was a mottled sort of pinkish brown, small & very lovely in a snakey sort of way. I promised to look it up in a snake book during lunch & return to class in the afternoon with an ID.

It was a copperhead.

I had to skip lunch to hyperventilate. I'd gathered my kids around a poisonous snake. Gah.

Your sister is a saint, by the way.

Fear of falling, huh? I can relate to that one, too. Part of outdoor ed is often running ropes courses just like you describe, minus the armed intervention. Falling is a powerfully universal fear, I think. A healthy one. And finding a way to override your nervous system & act in the face of fear like that takes a massive act of courage. I mean, it's not like driving across a SEE THROUGH BRIDGE, but it's pretty scary.

And seriously, they had to threaten to shoot the guy off the course??? Good thing I didn't know that was an option back when I was putting people through ropes courses. I'd have been very, very tempted.

Susan Seyfarth said...

M -- you let a pair of rats into your home?? You ARE mother of the year. And yeah, I'm sure that a purseful of phobias will turn up in a book someday. :-) Now that I think of it, that would make a great title for a pop song or a rock group, wouldn't it? Purse Full of Phobias?

Keira Soleore said...

Caren asked, "Keira, have you ever seen palmetto bugs? They are basically cockroaches that fly.

Just you wait, missy, for that terrifying horrific image that I can't erase from my mind you're going to get a bad gag gift next July in SF. Just you wait, Caren Crane. Just you, wait. (Swiped from My Fair Lady.)

Susan Seyfarth said...

mshellion -- yeah, I knew I was taking a chance by putting snakes first. I'm so glad you soldiered on! And yes, possums are nasty, nasty things, aren't they? A bigger, uglier version of a rat. Ack.

Okay, & tell the truth now: Did you REALLY find a 4th cousin on a blind date?? Please tell me he wasn't also the pig killer.

Susan Seyfarth said...

Beth -- your MIL sounds like a woman of great courage & extreme patience. Had my husband pulled that one, I'd be divorced today. And not because I'd filed for it. More because I'd still be running twenty years later & he would have eventually had to claim abandonment. :-)

Susan Seyfarth said...

Keira -- I live in the great northern midwest now (god's country, I've been repeatedly assured by natives) but I spent a few years in Texas & ran across my share of cockroaches. The incident that still makes me breathe through my mouth though? I had an afternoon off & wanted a bath. So I turned on the faucet & stuck my hand under the spigot to check the temperature of the water. Out came a handful of cockroaches ahead of the water. RIGHT. INTO. MY. HAND. Ack. I'm cringing even as I type.

Susan Seyfarth said...

Claudia -- Limiting myself to five wasn't easy, believe me. :-) But I'm with you on anything that doesn't move properly. crawling, skittering, creeping, slithering...

Come to think of it, I don't know why my kids don't freak me out more.

Susan Seyfarth said...

Beth -- RACCOONS! Yes! My husband -- so logical, so calm, so rational -- admitted, when pressed for a random fear of his own that he doesn't care for raccoons. It's the mask. They look sneaky, apparently.

My daughter didn't have to be pressed. She piped up, "Sauce." She prefers her pasta plain. Sauce greatly disturbs her. She totally got the concept of random fears. :-)

Susan Seyfarth said...

Anna -- I hear you on the vivid imagination thing. I regularly imagine mosquito bites right into skin cancer, to the point of mentally writing my eulogy. By the time I'm finished with my obit, the mosquito bite is gone, but at least I'm prepared, right?

And as I said to P226, overriding your nervous system's urgent messages NOT TO DO THIS & doing it anyway is a miraculous act of courage. Good for you for conquering so many of yours!

Susan Seyfarth said...

And now, (thank you mshellion & anna) I'll have to think very hard before going to Australia. Or Guam. I think India might be off limits, too. Is that where we find cobras? Ack.

Oh well, it's not like there was any international travel in the budget anyway. I'll spend the time avoiding the poisonous snakes we alreayd have here in America. Which is frankly more than I'm comfortable with already.

Susan Seyfarth said...

Nancy -- Oh, yeah, flying. Talk about overriding a perfectly rational message from your nervous system. "Um, hello, we're NOT SUPPOSED TO BE THIS HIGH! Get down! Immediately!" It's a tough one, but worth it for anybody who likes to travel. YOu're a traveller, aren't you?

Christine Wells said...

Susan, that was hilarious! Sorry to laugh at your fears, but it was.

Caren asked, "Keira, have you ever seen palmetto bugs? They are basically cockroaches that fly."

You mean your cockroaches don't fly??? Ours do. I've seen cockroaches as big as my thumb fly into our house in summer.

I hate lizards and snakes. I had a green tree snake in my kitchen once. Tried to get it out using the handles of a broom and a mop but the darn thing was like a strip of muscle and it wasn't going anywhere. Actually turned around and poked its tongue out at me with contempt. I was proud I fought my fear to eventually chivvy it out of the house.

Like Foanna, I'm scared of driving, mostly in unfamiliar places. Knowing I have to drive somewhere new for a night out spoils any fun I might have at the party/dinner/whatever. It's an awful fear to have because I have to drive every day. Going somewhere new on Wednesday and dreading it. But hey, our roads kill more people than snakes do. I think that's a rational fear!

Oh, and confined spaces. I get really panicky in confined spaces. Gosh I sound neurotic.

Oh yes, MsHellion, my ass is bad:)

Susan Seyfarth said...

Helen--yeah, there's something wrong about allowing yourself to be shut into a glass box & lifted very high into the air. Elevators ARE kind weird, now that I consider them. Escalators, too. Did you all hear about how escalators eat crocs? (The plastic shoes, not the animal. Though I'd tune in to see that, too.) All you escalator-phobes are now vindicated!

Susan Seyfarth said...

Jennifer Y -- YES!! Answering the phone is hard! It's like being put on the spot. Interaction on demand. Not a strength of mine. If it's after eight at night, I always let the voicemail pick up. I'm off duty. I've heard other people enjoy getting phone calls, but to me, they're work. If it's important, I'll call back. :-)

Anna Campbell said...

Caren, I'm sorry - this has been tormenting me ever since I read it. WHY DID YOU WANT TO KILL THE POSSUM??!!! You seem like such a nice lady. Well, slightly deranged, but nice. Our possums are actually really gorgeous and cuddly although they do pee in our ceilings and do awful damage. Aren't yours nice and cuddly too?

Anna Campbell said...

By the way, my ass is definitely bad too but that's from eating chips and sitting at the computer all day!

Susan Seyfarth said...

Christine -- I am aghast at the idea of a snake IN THE KITCHEN. Ooooooooh. That'll be with me for ages. And to think of it as a strip of muscle? I might need to breathe into a paper bag for a while.

Good luck with your trip to a new destination! I know it can be tough. When I lived in Texas, we occasionally went into Houston, one of the biggest, sprawliest, most confusing cities for a new driver. My friends always made me drive because I was from Detroit & they figured I was used to driving under insane conditions.

Speaking of Detroit, I was amused to see in the paper today that Detroit has recently been named the #1 most dangerous city in America by the FBI. It's been years since I lived there, (& by there, I mean the suburbs) but I'm proud of the old home town. Way to get national recognition, Detroit!!

Cassondra said...

Okay, fears.

Susan, this is a GREAT topic.

Let's see. I used to find things I was afraid of and go attempt to do that just so my fear would not have power over me. I'm losing that ability as I grow older, probably because I'm challenging myself, physically, less often.

I ran ropes courses for fifteen years, and the fear of falling is universal. Only a few unusual (my husband) people don't have it. The strange thing is, that if there's somebody stuck up on the ropes course--or needs help, or if I have to go up there to repair something--I'm golden. No worries. I scoot right across those cables and wires.

If it's ME doing the course, focusing on mySELF, then I freak out. Isn't that weird? If my focus is taking care of somebody else, I'm fine. If my focus is ME, I have the same fears as everyone else. But I trust the gear. Yes, I'm afraid to go off the building in a rappel, but I do it anyhow. But jumping off the top of the 40' pole and trying to ring the bell while holding onto nothing? That's harder. Jumping off of anything high is the hardest for me.

I'm not afraid of snakes, but I do know how to recognize the pit vipers, which is a good skill if you're going to play with them. (grin) We hit a rat snake with the lawnmower a few years back. I felt so bad. We brought it in and there we were, putting neosporin on this snake and giving it water... Hey, it worked. We still catch it about once a year and there's the scar, and it's doing fine. I can let itty bitty teeny weeny jumping spiders crawl on my hand--I mean REALLY tiny--almost invisible ones. The big hairy wolf spiders? No. My husband knows from the tone of my voice when I yell "STeeeeEEEEEEEEEVE??????" that I've come across a big hairy spider.

Bridges? Yeah, I freak out about the really long ones where you can't see land on either end. Fortunately we don't have those around here.

Possums? Ain't skeered.

Racoons? Ain't skeered o' them neither. And if it's the mask thing, whoever said they thought masks were sneaky must be petrified of the Bandita lair! ;0)

Crickets? Okay, the black chirping kind are fine. It's the CAVE CRICKETS--the kind that are pale brownish and jump about a mile? Those are SPAWN FROM HELL. They lurk. They lie in wait--on the wall--in the leaves--in the bathroom in the tub where they PRETEND that they can't get out. If one is nearby, I leave. 'Nuff said.

Roaches? The big kind that fly? SPAWN FROM HELL. Pure evil.

I have a thing for beautiful moths--the big ones like Luna moths--I think they're magic. Must be Dr. Doolittle's influence from when I was a little girl.

Steve tells me about his time in the middle east when he was attached to 5th group, and that they have sand spiders over there--like--the size of a dog. Guess where I'm NEVER GOING ON VACATION???????

MsHellion said...

Susan: Okay, the date with the 4th cousin wasn't truly blind. I met him at a laundry it's not quite the same. Still horrific. Maybe I should just put down ALL dating rather than just blind dating.

P.S. I totally get the drain thing for the same reason. We live in a farmhouse and it's not improbable! My sister found one in her toilet once!

MsHellion said...

And I need to totally P.S. my last remark. I met the guy at the laundry mat, but it wasn't until we were on a date we actually realized we were related!

Caren Crane said...

Anna C, I couldn't figure out why you thought possums were cute. So, I Googled the Australian possum. They are quite adorable! Then I Googled the American opossum. They look more like what this guy has on his blog: They are horrible, vicious and very hungry. The one I referred to was at my mother's house and kept harassing the cats and eating their food. It needed to die, believe me. The thing you don't see is that their pink-rimmed eyes glow in the dark and they are horrid-looking! Btw, my stepfather was the one who beat the possum to death, not me. I am scary, but not like that. *g*

MsHellion said...

I had to look. Australian possums are cuter.

Must be something to make up for the snakes!

Cassondra said...

Hey now, I don't think possums are that bad. The baby ones are really cute (like most baby animals). But they can seem very vicious when they're cornered. But if you really go after them, they play dead! Just keel right over! They're actually fraidy cats. But I do think with the diminished habitat, they have gotten too used to humans and aren't as afraid as they should be.

Caren Crane said...

Cassondra, I found information verifying that your cave cricket is the same as my camelback cricket. Horrible, nasty things!

Christine, no, cockroaches in the USA normally don't fly. Our palmetto bugs are the flying sort and they are only in the very warm, tropical parts of the country. Thank the Lord!

Cassondra said...

Caren, we have a variety of flying roach here in southern Kentucky. They're not true cockroaches, but they look EXACTLY like them to me, and I'm rather attuned to details....especially the details about ugly bugs with the capability to fly into my hair.

Caren Crane said...

Cassondra, don't tell me that. That means the things are adapting!! Oh, laws, I haven't felt this gobsmacked since I found out Soylent Green is people!

Cassondra said...

Hey, we've had them since I was a kid. Maybe they're just not coming over there....maybe.....

Cassondra said...

And you know, I've noticed that my husband just isn't bothered by things that fly and land on him in the way that I'm bothered.

I figured out a long time ago that it's the hair. I've always had long hair. When the creepy crawly flying thing gets in your hair, it gets tangled, and's war. That's just all there is to it. War. Freaked out, high girly screaming, swatting, hair pulling WAR. My husband doesn't have enough hair to make all that drama happen.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

If it has more than 4 legs I don't want it anywhere near me. I was fine until Junior High then I saw what they looked like under a microscope and that did it. Not drains so much as the grates for outside drains make me jumpy, remember this is the first class scaredy cat. When I first moved here I was taking some things to the basement and there is a drain right by the steps. It has eyes, I don't go there after dark now. I agree with you on the ocean, too many ugly things in that water. I don't fear the telephone but I really hate it, I worked customer service for 5 years and that was about 1 year too long. I have never had to cross a very large bridge but I doubt that I would care for it much.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Susan, you owe me. I was okay, holding my own then I took a big swig of Diet Coke and read that your daughter was - randomly - afraid of sauce. That did it. Spewage. Sigh. And I'd just changed shirts from an earlier coffee spill too. (I'm having a klutz day.)

I'm with Caren and Cassondra on the cave crickets and camelback crickets. Those being the technical names, of course. I call them Sprickets, sprockets or Spawn from Hell - because they look like monster spiders with the jumping capacity of a kangaroo. UGH. Hate the da*m things.

Sharks/the ocean in general. Like P226, it's the lurking you-could-step-on-it-anytime thing. Bleeeh.

Things which flap. I love birds in trees, at my feeder, soaring. I DO NOT like birds which flap near my head, land on my shoulder or otherwise invade my personal space.

I walked on 60' of fire once, and was just fine, but that was because I had been pretty sure I'd die jumping off the 40' pole to "ring the bell" on a ropes course as Cassondra mentioned. After that? Who's afraid of a little fire?

Otherwise, I'm good. Possums, critters, snakes, etc. don't get to me.

I have a friend who uses that bridge-driving service. She's a white-knuckle driver anyway and just panics on the bridges. We just don't want panicked drivers on the bridges, now do we? So we pay the nice people to drive... Grins.

I think I'm developing an irrational fear of the Golden Rooster, however... Snork.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I am laughing hysterically right now, not that I am laughing at anyone's fears, but the way you ladies present things just leaves me in stitches.
Caren, I have crickets in my basement, another good reason for me not to go down there, however, that is where the washer and dryer are. My mother and grandmother were very, very superstitious and I can't kill them because it is bad luck, now what do I do????? They do have more than 4 legs you know so that puts them on my bad list.
Oh, and by the way, the black snakes here in the states are non-poisonous, but........ they can and do breed with poisonous snakes, and you can't tell by looking if they have or haven't.

p226 said...

Wow, these comments have been a riot!

I have some comments on the comments.

Anna said:
...titled Big Scary Bikie's Daugher with PMT Toting a Full Loaded Machine Gun!...

Identify that machine gun for me and you might have just made another sale. Because that sounds like a Good Read.

Cassondra said:
...and that they have sand spiders over there--like--the size of a dog.

*raising hand* Seen them! Shot them! There is little on the planet as satisfying as putting a 9mm round through a spider that looks like it could carry off a tank. They also have some crazy aggressive snakes that will actually CHASE YOU.

Oh wow, this is reminding me of a rodent thing too. We were over there in the sand, basically living in a sandbag bunker. All we had for light was those lil glowsticks. And those had long gone dim, as we were all sleeping in our sandbag Hilton. Suddenly, Newman (his real name) wakes us up with a high-pitched scream. "Something just ran across my chest!"

"What? Dude, go back to sleep."

"A mouse! OH MY GOD IT'S A MOUSE!"



And that's when I went from annoyed, to full-on adrenaline rush fight-or-flight. A madman is about to engage a mouse with 16 rounds of 9mm in a 6' square sandbag bunker where 4 of his buddies are sleeping.

Fastest bunker egress in the history of warfare.

Cassondra also said:
...I've noticed that my husband just isn't bothered by things that fly and land on him in the way that I'm bothered...

Because swatting a bug gives away your position. You learn to live in harmony with crawly things. It's not the hair discrepancy. *g*

jeanne said:
...I DO NOT like birds which flap near my head, land on my shoulder or otherwise invade my personal space....
My wife got a rather Stern Warning from a large red-tailed hawk one day. We have no idea what set it off. She was walking to the truck, and heard that far off "screeeeee." The next call she heard was considerably louder and a WHOLE LOT closer. The thing swooped at her, screeched, swatted at her head with its talons, then flapped away. We have NO IDEA what that was all about. But she's traumatized now. Hawk screeches anywhere (the sound carries for miles) and she ducks, starts looking for cover, and muttering obscenities. I've named it "field mouse syndrome."

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

P226, I was howling about the mouse and the "fastest egress" Heehee. Also, made a personal mental note to NEVER go near Kuwait, Afghanistan or Iraq lest I meet a spider which could carry off a tank. SHUDDERING at the thought. Thank you, dear soldier, for saving the world from such a heinous monster. Grins. I'll bet they were great for target practice.

That was weird about the red-tail. They usually avoid humans like the plague, with good reason! I was watching America's Funniest Home Videos and this family had their pet mouse out of its cage, running around on a picnic table guessed it, in swoops a red-tail and bye-bye mouse. The dad, videotaping, says WTF was THAT? (they bleeped it, of course!) It was wild to see.

My boys got a bit freaked not too long ago by our local Cooperi hawk who picked up a chipmunk in the front yard. Tea time with the Duchesse...a little tea, a little bunny... snork. We love our Cooper's hawks though.

Keira Soleore said...

P226: Another Bandita asked you if you weren't a writer, then why weren't you? I ask the same question. That mouse episode is hilarious!!

Your wife was attacked by a hawk. I was attacked in the same manner by a CROW! A freakin' crow. I have hated crows ever since.

And those of you with all your crockroaches in Texas stories -- thank goodness you didn't tell me all that prior to July. Let's just say that otherwise, I would've run around with a can of RAID poised in my hand.

Caren Crane said...

P226 and Jeanne, we were at the NC Zoo in Asheboro many moons ago and went into the aviary. It is set up like a rain forest and the birds fly around freely. Well, one decided he really liked the shiny gold clip in my sister's hair. He dive-bombed her. I don't recall what sort of cute little tropical bird it was, but it liked shiny clips! When his friend started swooping, too, she covered her head with her hands and ran out of there! It makes me laugh every time we go there. bwa-ha-ha

Caren Crane said...

Keira, darling, if you don't want to be attacked by crows, you should be sure to wash the Nutella off your face before you go outside. I'm just saying...

Anna Campbell said...

P226, please keep commenting! You put a whole new perspective on things every time you deign to spread your wisdom! And I'm not being sarcastic!!!

Actually, my favourite native bird, the magpie, is VERY territorial when they're nesting and they'll attack you. Utterly fearless in defense of their young. I've never been swooped but they're a big bird (about the size of a crow) with a sharp beak and they can really do some damage if they're keen.

But you've never heard a more beautiful birdsong in your life than theirs. I've heard nightingales and larks and magpies beat all of them!

Cassondra said...

P226 said:

Because swatting a bug gives away your position. You learn to live in harmony with crawly things. It's not the hair discrepancy. *g*

Ha! So you say!

THAT is obviously the reason that they shave all of your heads when you go in! To keep you from going to war with the crawlies that land in your hair, and giving away your position. HA! Validation of my point. I still say it's the hair discrepancy. (grin)

Cassondra said...

jeanne said:

Also, made a personal mental note to NEVER go near Kuwait, Afghanistan or Iraq lest I meet a spider which could carry off a tank.

Actually Steve was not in any of those exact countries at the time, so I'm not sure of the true location of the ginormous spiders. P226 could probably elaborate. I don't think they're all over the middle east, and I'm thinking it would be good to find out precisely WHERE they are.

Joan said...

Well, coming in late once again on a really funny blog!

Let's see....

Many of the Banditas know from another topic that I have a MAJOR bridge phobia! I've FINALLY figured out that it is a total control issue. I'm not afraid of it falling, just that I will...inexplicitably drive myself off the edge. Not convienent at all when you want to GO SOMEWHERE besides KY! When I saw that new bridge in Charleston SC I almost soiled myself that we'd have to go over it. We didn't thank you Jesus.

Clowns. Cannot stand them. Do not trust them. Am convinced they are evil minions of..well....probably the cockroaches. Never turn your back on a clown.

Don't especially like bugs of any kind (except ladybugs).This will gross ya'll out. I heard recently a patient at my hospital brought his sleep apnea machine in to use while he was there. They turned it on and a whole herd of flying roaches flew out. People are SO gross anymore.

Being a single lady I have to take care of these "things" when they creep in.

Crickets...they annoy me when they get into my attached garage and start chirping at 2 am. It sounds like they have a dang megaphone.

One night I heard a particulary loud serenade and half asleep shuffled out there in my jammies with my trusty can of RAID. Ends up it's a HUGE grasshopper. I mean the size of a Volkswagon. Crafty little devil too...kept dodging beneath my car tires.

I waited...patiently...and when he tried to sneak out of there I sprayed his butt. But I found out one important thing....spraying grasshoppers with RAID doesn't kill PISSES them off.

He started jumping like one of those Beretta bullets inside my garage. the the car...boing off my head! I was squealing at the top of my lungs, dancing around like a loon and spraying it till it was white with the stuff. And STILL it gave me the evil eye.

I ran into my house, bolted the door and shoved something under the door. The next morning his carcass was lying there but I was convinced he was only PLAYING dead.

P226...where were the Marines when I needed them?

Snakes don't bother me a lot though when I lived in a second floor apartment whose door had at least 1 1/2 inch opening beneath it I used to imagine one crawling in there in the middle of the night. Um, not a lot of stair climbing snakes LOL. Now my Mom killed a black snake in our backyard when I was little. You'd think I'd have the "snake killer gene" wouldn't you?

One last "ick" story. When I was about 12 we went to visit my cousin who was 2 years older than me. So at 14, Bobby didn't want his girl cousin hanging with him and his friends. While they were out doing "boy" stuff I went into his room to look for some comic books to entertain myself.

There was a large "rubber" brown spider on his wall. MIGHT have been one of those ones from the Middle East. I went right up to it..had my nose a fraction of an inch from it..and thought "Wow, realistic".

Turned to get a comic and the dang thing MOVED. I screamed. My parents and my aunt and uncle came running. I remember my uncle knocking it off the wall and stepping on it. I swear the thing kicked back! My uncle finally had to take a hammer and beat it to death!

Darn, boy cousins.

p226 you be NICE to your sister!

Cassondra said...

P226 said:

Seen them! Shot them! There is little on the planet as satisfying as putting a 9mm round through a spider that looks like it could carry off a tank.

You know, I do believe that I could "hunt" those and feel absolutely no remorse. I can't even squish a bug without feeling as though I've done the universe an injustice...

Well, if the bug has flown into my hair, it has shown obvious aggression, and therefore the above thought process does not apply...oh...ahem....back to the point..

Those spiders--I might actually be able to hunt those evil demons from the pit of hades-- and enjoy it.

Susan Seyfarth said...

Cassondra--It IS a funny thing, isn't it, how your goal in doing something changes the experience? Focusing on somebody else's fear on the ropes course keeps your mind off your own. I've found being a mom does a similar thing to my psyche. My kid barfs & I run TOWARD the grossness, not away. It's wrong, I know. But there you have it. Somebody else's trauma, particularly somebody we care for, short circuits a great many self-preservation instincts.

And I know this is no laughing matter, your poor lawn-mowed snake, but did anybody else picture slices of salami flying through the air? I'm glad he's fine, though. :-)

Normally, I'm neutral on spiders, but the ones you're all describing that could carry off tanks? Yeah, that's bad. Very bad.

Keira Soleore said...

Caren, I graciously accede this round to you. Very well done, dear!

Susan Seyfarth said...

Mshellion--Ohhhh, you've just confirmed fear #2!! And fear #1! I'm having a hard time typing with my eyes squeezed shut!

Dianna -- yes, anything over four is too many legs. That's the reverse of my no legs rule. 4+ is too many. Less than two is too few. And the grates over drains are just window dressing on the horror. Ack. Is it seriously bad luck to kill crickets? I've never had a grudge against them, but I didn't know killing them was bad news, karmically speaking.

Susan Seyfarth said...

Jeanne -- So sorry about your coke spewing. I find my daughter randomly hilarious, too. :-) I can't wait until #2 starts talking. She's already pretty funny. She likes to sneak up on me when I'm not paying attention to blow raspberries on my bare legs. Tell you what, that'll put you through the roof when you're not expecting it. :-)

And you must explain walking on 60 feet of FIRE!

Susan Seyfarth said...

P226 -- Okay, did you HAVE to mention the existence of snakes that give chase? I'm dying over here. :-)

I'm usually pretty positive on spiders -- they eat mosquitos after all. But I have to admit, the idea of shooting tank-toting spiders is unexpectedly appealing.

And poor Newman, determined to blow a mouse to kingdom come with his bunker mates scatter ... that's an image that'll keep me chuckling for the next couple of days. I can't remember who said it, but if you're not writing you ought to. Have you read Jarhead? It's a pretty interesting take on military life by Anthony Swofford. I have no personal experience with the military, so I couldn't say how accurate it was, just that it was a pretty compelling read with lots of guns in it.

Susan Seyfarth said...

Joan -- you are a true warrior. I commend you. If I had a golden can of RAID I would present it to you for doing battle with the killer cricket in your garage.

I would also like to join in you demanding that the world STOP ALLOWING CLOWNS. If we all just said NO, they would stop. Wouldn't they?

Joan said...

Susan said:

I would also like to join in you demanding that the world STOP ALLOWING CLOWNS. If we all just said NO, they would stop. Wouldn't they?

LOL, Susan....

Oh they would SAY that they were leaving. Tweak those bulbous red noses, give you a ballon poodle and then go HIDE UNDER YOUR BED and conspire with the snakes/crickets/possums and tank spiders to take you out while you slept....or went to the the dark....where they reach out and GRAB YOU AND DRAG YOU UNDER THE BED! (pant, pant).

That's it p226. You've got guard duty for tonight!

p226 said...

Siglite reporting for duty as ordered ma'am.

If I see any clowns or tank-snatching arachnids within 400m of this blog I'll light 'em up like the 4th of July.

Joan said...

I woke up during the night and thought I heard the heavy plod of floppy shoes. Then I remembered; p226 was on guard.

I went back to sleep :-)


hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Susan, according to my mother and grandmother you can't kill a cricket, the best you can do is catch it and take it outside, but I have not willingly touched anything with with more than 4 legs since I was in 7th grade. Just a little story here, and please, don't freak on me, I am not overly afraid of legless creatures and when I was young I went up on the hill and caught two snakes and brought them home. Mother didn't appreciate it needless to say and my father just about croaked, the man was deadly afraid of snakes. The next day I was laying out and my mother heard me screaming, she comes running out of the house and I am doing this crazy dance in the yard, there was an ant on my leg.