Thursday, October 6, 2016

BOO! That Scare You?

Doug: You may have noticed that the calendar has turned to October, and that certainly means more "creature features" on the telly, ghouls and goblins decorating the neighbors' yards, cooler temperatures, and just a general turn to autumn. I'd like to focus on the "scary" part of Halloween, but in a broader context: what is it that scares you? Of course many of us would say an illness or injury to a family member, and I wouldn't downplay that. But what I'm looking for are maybe some of those irrational fears and phobias -- some that maybe, just maybe, for which you have a perfectly acceptable rationale. I'll start.

I don't know that I'm "scared" necessarily, but I do not like to have to deal with dead animals. This is true of natural deaths and mice that I've vanquished. Yuck. Just don't like it. I am usually armed with a very long shovel when having to do clean up in the yard, and I hold that baby way at the end of the handle. Of course, then there's the issue of putting the deceased in a trash bag and... man, I have goosebumps just thinking about this -- touching said garbage bag to tie it up. Ugh... Worst one was finding a dead rabbit at the back of the yard. Been there for awhile, as he'd gone stiff. Second worst was a bird that had strangled itself with twine it was hoping to use in nest building. It was swinging in the breeze as if on the gallows. I had to take some scissors and just snip the line, and it dropped right into the bag. Still, those beady eyes...

I will admit to being scared of rollercoasters. I'm not sure I even like them from afar. My tolerance for cresting and falling is about 15-20 feet, and no more. I also don't really care to go upside down, so any loop-to-loop is out, as is the sort of Ferris wheel with the cars that can rotate. Uh uh. Not for this boy.

Lastly, I don't have acrophobia (fear of heights), but for whatever reason I don't like to be high up on a ladder. That's more to a fear of that sucker slipping and me with nothing to grab hold of. I imagine I'm quite a sight from behind, as I know my butt cheeks are about as tight as butt cheeks can get when I'm up cleaning out gutters or painting up high. No thanks to that, either.

So your turn. What gets your heart to pumping, maybe the brow to sweating a bit. Got anything?


Edo Bosnar said...

I'm with you on the top-of-the-ladder thing - however, in the past that, when working on stuff around the house, that hasn't stopped me from standing preciously in the top step of step ladders (and almost falling and breaking my neck on more than one occasion...)
I don't think I'm afraid of heights as such (e.g. I have no problem whatsoever with any amusement park rides), but man, if I'm in some really tall building, like a skyscraper, either on the roof or a balcony, and said roof or balcony lacks a fence, guard rail or some kind of at-least waist-high wall or something, I will not get closer than 5 feet to the ledge.

The thing with dead animals I really don't get. Is this maybe one of those dividing lines between people who grew up in cities (or suburbs) and in the rural areas?

Humanbelly said...

Agh-- great topic! Busy day!

In a way, Doug, your main two there are kind of different things. An extreme distaste (like sever squeamishness) vs a legitimate, phobic-type fear-- although there's certainly a lot in common in how one responds to them.

Heights is probably my biggest one as well-- and darned if I don't get myself up on the tops of ladders, scaffolds, big rocks, etc all the daggone time. I'm not a bit at ease when I do-- but it becomes a point of pride to not let that fear rule my actions. Oy, the occasional time when one has a "freeze-up" reaction is just murder, though. . .


Humanbelly said...

The dead-animal thing does resonate with me in a way, edo. As a little kid, I was just about as squeamish as they come--REALLY grossed out (and yet of course ENgrossed) by the continual stream of dead animals that are a part of daily suburban/rural community life. Then I worked on that pig farm one summer, and the sensation of that internal "switch-flip" is almost in the realm of physical recall.

Smallish pig carcas.
"I can't pick that up. I can't, I can't, I can't."
Deep breath.
I have gloves on.
An internal sensor turns off. Literally turns off.
"Of course I can. It weighs very little, and it has to get out of here."

In a way-- having THAT reaction is almost scary in itself, because I imagine it's a tiny version of the desensitizing that happens to combat soldiers. And then you really start asking yourself hard questions about what you'd be capable of in worse circumstances. . . a much more serious fear. . .


Redartz said...

Good observation regarding desensitization, HB. I went through a similar process: was pretty squeamish about blood and tissue. That is, until I worked for a medical equipment repair service and had to deal with it daily. It really does make you stop and think about what other things a person can be desensitized to...

Otherwise, heights don't stop me in my tracks, but I prefer to avoid them. Extremely tight spaces are discomforting- since I once hiked a cave in southern Indiana. It was fine through most of the cave, but approaching the end of the passage, it was so short and narrow you literally had to crawl out snake-style in a stream bed. No room to back up and turn around; you HAD to go forward. Dark, wet, and unpleasant. Not again...

Anonymous said...

Big spiders. I don't mind little spiders but I hate the big ones known officially as "Cardinal spiders" which are totally harmless but they just freak me out. I don't know where this phobia comes from because neither of my parents had a fear of spiders, my father loved spiders and often picked them up - I once asked him if he'd ever been bitten by a spider (I was thinking about Peter Parker of course) but he said no. It could be worse - a couple of years ago I was reading an e-book version of Jack Kerouac's "On The Road" and in one scene he sees a tarantula in a barn in California - OMG as the kids say, it never occurred to me that California had tarantulas - suddenly the sunshine state of palm trees and Hollywood seemed a lot less appealing. Other creepy crawlies don't bother me - beetles, Daddy-Long-Legs etc and I regularly pick up worms and slugs and transfer them to safety on the grass so they won't dehydrate or get trodden on. Just keep big spiders away from me.

Anonymous said...

HB..."the continual stream of dead animals that are part of daily suburban/rural community life"...I grew up in a village in the country and I never saw any dead animals.

Doug said...

Edo -

I am indeed a "city boy". Without a doubt! Sure, I've been hiking, exploring, etc. Dead animals just creep me out for some reason. Which is dumb, because live ones don't generally bother me. Unless they get in the house. Don't like that (mice, toads).


david_b said...

Once you've seen dead human bodies folks, I can take small dead animals.

As for 'city boys', I did find a dead rabbit (or SOMETHING bigger than a breadbox..) in a suburban attic once.. kinda weird, I believe I was 12 or something.

I'm alright for heights.., I had strong temptations to go airborne early in my military career at Fort Benning. Eh.., the plane jumping never hit me as scary, but I was stationed across from the huge 'jump towers' down at Benning for a few months, watching soldiers in training being 'hoisted' up a hundred feet and dropped as part of 'jump school'. THAT made me a bit squeamish, not sure why (over the actual plane-jumping bit..), but I decided 'Nah'.

Ended my aspiration for being an Army Ranger, but I'm ok with that.

Martinex1 said...

I have a fear of some bugs... centipedes. I have always had very bad eyesight. And once as a kid and not wearing my glasses I thought I saw that somebody had dropped some change on the ground. When I reached down to pick up the coins, it wasn't money at all but rather coiled centipedes. They quickly wriggled and crawled around my hand. I still get the creeps now thinking about it 40 years later.

Also sea anemones send a chill down my spine. I cannot go to an aquarium without being bothered by those alien looking entities. Cannot explain it but undersea life brings out my "flee" instincts.

Edo Bosnar said...

Colin, I'm with you on the big spiders: don't mind the smaller ones, and am completely unperturbed by insects no matter how large, but bigger spiders really creep me out for some reason.

J.A. Morris said...

I wouldn't say I'm "scared" of rollercoasters. But I don't ride the ones with the 90-degree drops anymore because I don't dig the sensation of falling.

The Prowler said...

Bras!!!! That's all I'm going to say about that...... But yeah, bras.

Attics!!! When you're climbing that ladder, even though the light is on, you still don't know what's up there and your head is the first thing to clear. Could be a rat, raccoon, squirrel, clown, YOU JUST DON'T KNOW!!!!! Hate it, but I'm the guy and I've gotta go.

And in summation, I've worked just about every variation of the night shift, 10 to 6:30, 11 to 7:30, Midnight to 8:30. But I worked a split shift, 4 am to Noon thirty and I can tell you. At 3:30, when you're at a red light and a car pulls up next to you...... YOU JUST DON'T WANT TO LOOK OVER!!!! What if no one's behind the wheel? What if SOMEONE'S behind the just keep staring straight ahead. And then when you think everything is get that feeling you're not alone in the car. And all you have to do to prove that you're alone and everything is all right is look in the rear view mirror......go ahead, it'll be okay....look........

(I saw her today at the reception
In her glass was a bleeding man
She was practiced at the art of deception
Well I could tell by her blood-stained hands
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You just might find
You get what you need
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You just might find
You get what you need).

PS: A robot wouldn't be afraid to look in the mirror......

Anonymous said...

I'm kind of in agreement with Edo; I don't love heights, but I can get up on the roof to clean the eaves or shovel snow or whatever. I used to be scared of dogs, but I've gotten a lot better about it. There are some I'm still leery of, though.

I've never been on a rollercoaster; I don't know if I'd be scared being on one, but I have a feeling I'd probably get sick!

Mike Wilson

BobC said...

I hate heights.

Anonymous said...

Well, I wouldn't say I have acute acrophobia but sometimes when I'm leaning over the balcony of a multistory building I sometimes feel a little dizzy. Bugs in general I can deal with, although I'm usually careful around the potentially dangerous ones like certain spiders, centipedes or scorpions.

- Mike 'I'm not afraid of heights, just falling off of heights' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Warren JB said...

Big hairy spiders I can handle (literally) - I used to keep a few. But big hairy moths always gave me the heeby-jeebies in a way that they really shouldn't. Best I can articulate is that they're usually much bigger than other insects round here, and the chunky hairiness makes them seem like some hybrid of insect and mammal, with bulbous, black staring eyes. Also the rapid, unpredictable movement, flapping round your head and in your face. I guess it's like the fear people have of bats getting caught in their hair.

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