Saturday, February 03, 2007


When I've got my car keys in hand (or pocket) and I'm walking past a deep storm-sewer drain, I always make extra certain that I won't drop them, and pause mentally to contemplate my reaction if I were to drop the keys down the drain. Am I the only one who's paranoid about this? Omigod! Google says I'm not! I feel better already. There are two of us. At least I'm brave enough to park my car next to the drain in my parking lot instead of steering clear of it.

Centipedes and millipedes (termed hundred-legged and thousand-legged motherfuckers by my sister) also freak me out. Boy, that was a rough summer the year the millipedes infested the neighborhood. And I'm glad my home is small enough that I can generally reach a shoe to squish a wall-climbing centipede. They move so fast! If one skitters down to the floor, there's little chance of finding it. Gotta get it on the wall. (And then use the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser for the resultant smudge.)

I recently found out that scorpions also alarm me. Here in the now-frigid Midwest, there's little chance of encountering a scorpion outside of captivity. But the other week, I had to check the genus and species of a couple scorpions for a paper I was editing. Seeing a couple pictures and reading a couple paragraphs at Wikipedia? I was undone. Ergo, I will never, ever move to the Southwest.

Plenty of people are afraid of heights, snakes, needles, public speaking, or spiders. What's your most unusual phobia?


Cricket said...

Oh! Keys! I grip them tight around drains. I have the same fear, which reaches as far as elevators, too. I once had a work friend drop her single key down the crack between the elevator and the door.

Orange said...

Sister Cricket! I just noticed a gap in a parking garage, about a two-inch space between the concrete platform and the elevator lobbies. (The structure must be settling oddly.) Certainly enough space to lose a set of keys from level 10!

Feral Mom said...

Well, a fear of public speaking isn't THAT unusual, but after watching this charming clip, I've got a new one. Does anyone know the fancy-phobia term for a fear of owls?

Anonymous said...

I'm right there with you on the key thing, but I had always chalked it up to being generally neurotic.

My really wierd and annoying one though? Hunting Trophies. A solitary deer head off in the corner I can handle with only slight nervousness. Big hairy somethin' right over the doorway? More than one in a room? Full on panic.

Ever notice how many restaraunts have one?

I may have sent my husband in places to scout out the dead animal situation, but you can't prove it.

amusing said...

My phobia?
People. Generally they make me nervous.

I also have the carkey around the drain thing. And near subway platforms too. Once saw a cellphone down there on the tracks and wondered if it slipped or if it was flung there after the jerk broke up with her by phone....

Hand down the disposal fishing things out....H2O (Halloween 2) made excellent use of this fear as Michael Meyers stalked the hallways and came near the kitchen while the kid tried to retrieve the corkscrew....

Oh, and the multi-legged critters -- I once read that if you blast 'em with hairspray they get all stuck to themselves and you are done. There you go. My gift to you. No need for the Magic Eraser.

Narya said...

It's not so much that I have phobias, or, at least, not consistent ones. What I have noticed is that when I'm under a lot of stress, I'm much more likely to become mildly phobic.

I must admit that I don't particularly enjoy walking across the bridges in this fair city, especially when it's cold and, worse, windy. And I REALLY hate to fly. I don't regard that as a phobia, however. In both cases, I go ahead and do the necessary anyway. I'd have a difficult time taking a really long flight, though--to Europe, or Australia, or wherever. Sedation would probably be necessary; meditation will only get me so far.

Anonymous said...

Toads. I am petrified of toads, and have been for as long as I can remember.

Of course, I'm not so silly as to think that toads can cause me any harm, but I become positively paralyzed if I see one because I am afraid that it will hop into my path and I will step on it.

Unknown said...

You named three of mine- spides, heights and public speaking... but my most unusual one is, yes... windows in bathroom. ESPECIALLY if they're right next to the toilet.

I'm afraid, at night, to sit on the toilet, and to look at the window, and heaven forbid, there might be a PERSON or a face in the window. Watching me.

I mean, naturally that's scary, but I freak myself out so much that I can no longer finish my business and live in fear of actually pulling away the curtain or blind.

It doesn't help that someone found out my unnatural fear and scared the living daylights out of me once.

(Good topic, it made me delurk. :))

Mona Buonanotte said...

Turtle neck sweaters.


It's like I can't breathe.

That's my main phobia. That and freaking out when I drive over a bridge that I'll lose control and plunge into the murky depths.

Orange said...

Feral, that owl with lips was just weird.

Herbie, I'm not afraid of hunting trophies, but boy, are they nasty.

Amusing, I don't own any hairspray. Maybe I should get a can for my desk just in case I see a leggy beast.

Narya, you should see how tightly I want to hold Ben's hand when crossing the Chicago River. The opening in the middle, between the two halves? Eek!

Toads, Dr. Igloo? Toads? Probably you don't want to investigate Mr. Toad's Wild Ride at Disney World, eh?

Tamsen, I don't understand skylights in bathrooms. Isn't there just a teeny chance that a camera on a satellite high in the ether can see right through that skylight? I keep my eyes skyward just in case.

Mona, that driving on a bridge thing—driving at high speed without a median in general does the same thing to me. What's stopping anyone from going off the bridge or plowing into oncoming traffic? Sure, little things like self-preservation and the social contract. We can't be the only ones who think about this...

Anonymous said...


Psycho Kitty said...

Well, not all that unusual, but sharks and moths and crickets. Except, I had to get over the moths and crickets, what with a 7-year old boy. But sharks, still. Eesh.

Delia Christina said...

i do the key thing especially when i'm getting out of a car in front of my house - there's a huge gaping storm drain maw just waiting for my keys to eat - and when i get off the bus, as well.

other fears:
plunging into the water when crossing a bridge in a car (it never fails to cross my mind)
having acid thrown in my face
large bodies of water freak me out (there's no bottom!)
the thought of being forced to lick the floor of a CTA bus (i have no idea when that started occupying my mind, but now it's stuck.)

who knew i was so crazy.

Orange said...

PK, if you never read the tale of the person who got a flying moth wedged in an ear, do not seek it out. Hey, it's probably fake! Ooh, there was a creepy scene in King Kong, which Mr. Tangerine was watching last night (the Naomi Watts/Jack Black remake), with giant grasshoppers and spiders. He threatened that there were giant centipedes and, in all seriousness, I informed him that I COULD NOT WATCH THAT. The eye that was closer to the TV? I closed it to make sure nothing snuck in via peripheral vision as I used the other eye to look at the bug-free computer monitor.

Ding, keys? I knew there was a reason I liked you. Here's my problem with large bodies of water, especially oceans rather than Lake Michigan: Let's see the current pulls you out. You could be lost at sea, treading water for thousands of miles! The Pacific? It's too big. Don't like that.

Unknown said...

Orange, I had no fear of skylights, I figured that was too high for people... but now... I am very afraid.

Anonymous said...

Toads, Dr. Igloo? Toads? Probably you don't want to investigate Mr. Toad's Wild Ride at Disney World, eh?

Been there, done that. They need to be REAL toads, because it's the hopping under my feet that I'm afraid of, not the toads per se.

I suspect the root of this fear is my Grandmother's experience of once having stepped on a toad in her bare feet when she was a child. I've been afraid of them for as long as I can remember, so I think I must have heard this story from her when I was at an impressionable age.

Orange said...

So, Dr. Igloo—are you planning to go to the the crossword tournament next month?

The Absent Minded Housewife said...

Will blogger give me the ability to comment today? Let's find out!

I can't go #2 in a public restroom. My bowels refuse to cooperate.

I've only managed once, at Disneyland a few years back. The restroom was so large, and noisy, that things went rather smoothly. I was rather astounded by this.

I also dislike being in heavy freeway traffic. I do a bit better when I'm the one driving.

Anonymous said...

So, Dr. Igloo—are you planning to go to the the crossword tournament next month?

Sadly no. The medical school I work at conducts their admissions interviews that weekend, and I sorta have to be there. :(

However, I am planning to sign up to "solve online" and see how I stack up, and then make a decision about next year. I finally saw Wordplay just before Xmas (when you were on-screen I started bouncing up and down on the couch), and now I'm absolutely determined to go someday!!

Anonymous said...

OMG, Orange, I just got an email from Will Shortz! I think this is the best day of my year so far! :)

Anonymous said...

I'm terrified of high ledges. Be them on a bridge, a balcony, a window, whatever, they scare me horribly and the older I get, the worse it gets. Along that same vein, I'm terrified of dropping and/or having one of my kids fall over a ledge and always hold on to them extra tight. Heights over water (the bridge from New York to Canada comes to mind) are particularly terrifying.

I’m also irrationally terrified of the dentist’s office. I hate the sounds, the smells, the tastes and my blood pressure goes through the roof whenever I have to sit in one of those pleather chairs- even if it’s just for a cleaning.

Bobita said...

Bridges. Freaking terrify me. Especially when all three kids are with me. Sophie's Choice kind of panic, knowing that I could not save all three children, should we plummet to the waters below...

And, squealing pigs. I have had nightmares about the little bastards since I was about 6 years old. Related somehow to the religious stories to which I was subjected as a child.

I can't imagine what I might do if I was transporting a carload of pigs... and crossed a bridge!! heh.

Dharma said...

I have a similar reaction going near grates. Crossing bridges, particularly in a car, heebie jeebies.

Mignon said...

Wow. I got that bridges thing going too. What is that?? I've rehearsed over and over my method for getting the kids out of their carseats and swimming with both of them through the frigid rivers around Missoula should the bridge collapse or I spazz out and drive over the edge...

Oh, also I have mini panic attacks that I'll get injured at home and Madeleine will call 911 but forget to tell the paramedics that she has a little brother and he'll wander out of his bedroom after a nap to an empty home with his mom and his big sister at the hospital.

And apparently it doesn't lessen the paranoia to write about it because now I'm all freaked out.

JT said...

My fairly common phobias: spiders, hell -- all bugs, and throw in amphibians and reptiles. Also heights (really, falling from them), and bridges, train platforms, or any other place where an inadvertent slip could mean death.

My weird phobias... hoo boy. I'm scared of construction. Not the verb, but the skeletal system of a building. I'm totally freaked out by the concept of things behind my walls, inside my roof and under my floors. I thought maybe when we built our townhome and I was there from the ground up the demystification would free me, but no dice.

Similar to that, I guess: I hate swimming pool walls and floors. I love to swim but I'm scared of the water and scared of the pool. When I was a kid, I saw the pool at my elementary school torn apart, with all these creepy inner workings behind a wall. It was totally disturbing to me. I'm always worried that something's going to come out at me from the wall or floor of the pool.

I can't believe I just admitted this.

Anonymous said...

jt: The swimming pool thing- me too! Sort of. I'm always a little nervous that something will burst out of the large grate in the deep end. I'm 28 by the way. I've long given up on that fear ever going away.

Orange: this has been a really fun thread!

Anonymous said...

I'm extremely afraid of owls.

it all started back when my dad took me to the zoo, my dad always loved going to look at the bird cages and seeing those stupid things, sorry to all the bird fans, i'm not one of them.

anyway, he brought me up to the owl cage. and there sat a HUGE barn owl. I started freaking out and it began to fly around and hoot and screech and ahh...

Since then, i've been deathly afraid of them. Just looking at a picture of one scares me..

Anyway i can cure it?

Anonymous said...

well. i'm petrified of pool filters. and i cry iof i swim over them :( sad isn't it guys lol

Anonymous said...

I'm writing this for my friend elle, who cannot look at this page because she has a phobia of orange.
also the number seven and birds.
This page was a bit confrontational as you can imagine.