I am generally not an overly fearful person, but there are a few things that I am constantly nervous about:
1. Getting buried alive.
2. Having my skirt stuck in my underwear when I leave a public restroom.
3. Thinking I look awesome when in fact I look ridiculous.
4. Anything to do with teeth.
For the most part, I think these are reasonable fears. In fact, I am sure that most people feel the same. Though I have met some people who love going to the dentist, and there are people who have way more confidence than they should, in general, I think it’s safe to say that I am not too far off the spectrum of normal fears here.
I could definitely find some more fears if I think about it. I play out virtually every Stephen King novel in my head when my son takes his bike to the park. I freeze up for the few seconds it takes my daughter to cross the street. When there’s a thunderstorm at night I can’t help thinking that maybe it isn’t thunder, but apocalyptic explosions plunging the world into the dark ages.
I still think that’s in the realm of normal, though. I mean, everyone must think that at certain times, right?
I recently spoke to a friend about fears and asked her to list her top five. Mixed in with the losing a child and going blind was this nugget:
Not having my cell phone.
So I laughed and said, “Really? That’s really your fear.”
And she got indignant and said that it was just as reasonable as getting your skirt stuck in your undies, or spiders for that matter. The phone, she explained, was her connection to everyone. If there is a Zombie apocalypse, her phone would reach her family. If she gets caught on an island, she could use her phone to get rescued. Not having it leaves her totally alone.
I ignored the whole “You won’t have cell service on an island, much less during a Zombie strike,” and instead argued that really her fear has to do with being totally alone.
But no. It was actually her phone. The physical being of it. Like a child’s blanket or teddy bear, it was her sense of comfort.
I told her that she was completely screwed up and needed some serious values clarification. She called me an insensitive, self-centered bitch. So we took our lists and left it at that.
Sometimes you need to know who you can discuss these things with.
I didn’t ask anyone else, because really, I didn’t need to pursue it. Who am I to judge someone’s shallow fears when two of mine have to do with my appearance? You can’t get more shallow than that. These little fears are so much easier to handle than the more ominous ones that lurk in the subconscious. If I wanted to really deal with fears, I’d have a lot more to worry about than spiders. Or dentists. Or random people laughing. Those are things I’d face without blinking if my kids were in danger. If the world was ending. If zombies were on my lawn and I had no more pea-shooters left.
In that sense, even though I made fun of the cell phone fear, it makes sense. It’s controllable.
Double checking the mirror when I leave the restroom, wielding a bat against a phantom spider the size of a pea, pushing off the six-month cleaning – they’re things that keep me on my toes. Stupid and non-sensical as they are, without them, I might find myself imagining far worse. Things that are real.
So to my friend Jackie, you’re right. Losing your phone is a good fear to hang onto. It will certainly keep that clown in the sewer at bay.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a dentist appointment to reschedule.