Fears, Legitimate and Otherwise

October 17, 2017

You know how you go into haunted houses at Halloween and think 'meh it's cool looking but it's not scary?  Now if they had ____, that would be scary!'  No, just me?  (Read to the bottom for my version of a haunted house.)  I always think about what they could put into a haunted house that would truly scare the crap out of me, and I feel like Halloween in general gets me thinking about I'm actually afraid of in life.  And how deep that fear goes, because apparently, there's levels.  There's normal fear where you get a little anxious, but it's considered a phobia if you avoid what you're afraid of at all costs.  I have both.


Lawn Gnomes.  I hate lawn gnomes.  Loathe them.  I'm totally terrified of them.  All because of the Goosebumps book/episode (the episode is on Netflix now if you want to see what I'm talking about) where they come alive when the lights go out and kill you.  I still totally believe this to be true.  Freaky little things.  It's irrational but 'normal' in that I can still walk past one.

Flying.  Well let's get real here - I'm afraid of crashing and burning, not actually of flying.  But the crashing and burning part won't happen if you don't get on the plane!  Which is how I intend to live the rest of my life.  Plane free.  This makes this particular fear a 'phobia' instead of 'normal' because I refuse to fly anymore.

Heights.  For similar reasons to flying, so I guess it's not 'heights' so much as it's 'plummeting to my death from a really high point.'  I get really dizzy and nauseous just from standing on someone's balcony.  I have no idea how I used to ride roller coasters all the time - I think the fear of heights developed with age and wisdom.  Normal rather than phobia since I'll still tolerate high places, I just avoid them if I can.

Opaque Shower Curtains.  I think Psycho made this a universal fear.  Every shower curtain I've ever owned is transparent and I don't love it when my friends have opaque ones in their bathrooms, but I won't avoid them at all costs, so it's normal, not a phobia.

Water Where I Can't See the Bottom.  Lakes, oceans, whatever, I don't swim where I can't see the bottom.  Which means it's a phobia, I just simply won't ever do it.  You have no idea what's down there for crying out loud.  It's even tough to get me on a boat for that same reason, but I couldn't pass up a cruise to Alaska.  So the boat thing is just normal fear.

Birds and Chicago Pigeons.  My mom made me watch The Birds way too young.  'It's a classic,' she says.  Nonsense.  I was terrified of birds for months and I still am.  Back then it was a phobia, I would run and hide from them and hated being outside.  Now it's just a normal fear, and everyone should be scared of those murderous dirty Chicago pigeons.  Devil incarnate, those things.  But they're pretty unavoidable so it's not a phobia.

Parking Garages and Getting in the Car.  This is legit, so many women are attacked this way, but since I don't avoid it, it's a normal fear.  But that doesn't stop me from carrying a taser and always checking the backseat and my surroundings before getting in.  And locking the doors right away.  You all should do that too anyway, for the record.

Corn Mazes.  I'm totally on board with haunted houses, I love them.  But not so much with the haunted corn mazes, because they really aren't tightly monitored, you know?  They have the entrance and exit but it really is a giant field of corn, so an actual axe murderer could just wander in from the backside and come kill you and you'd just think it was part of the act until whoops you're dead.  More of a concern in Iowa than here in Chicago.  This one is a phobia because, like the plane, I absolutely will not do a corn maze under any circumstances ever again.

My idea for a super cool and creepy haunted house?  All that waiting in line you do, have some tech genius get your image and place you in a virtual scene, that you watch at some point inside.  Virtual you gets killed in some way, something gory and terrifying.  Then, screens off, lights on, and there in the middle of the room is the guy who killed virtual you, with whatever instrument he killed you with.  He chases you out of the house and you have nightmares for weeks.  Fun right?!  Well, some version of fun.  But see how that's scripted and controlled whereas the corn maze is so not?

Halloween is coming.  What are you afraid of?  Is it a normal fear or a full blown phobia?


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