Friday, June 20, 2008
Those who know me know that I have many, what have been termed, "irrational fears." I cannot use the restroom, anywhere, unless the shower curtain is open or at least has been peeked behind first. Needles or seeing needles go into someone, I actually broke out in a cold sweat once when I had to get an IV. I cannot stand the sight, feel, or sound of metal on teeth. I once bit a quarter because I saw a man bite a gold coin in an old movie and thought he did so because coins taste good. They do not. They taste like mineralized terror.
What few realize is that my fears are not irrational. There is a legitimate explanation for why I am afraid or averse to certain actions or objects. For example:
The most prominent of my "irrational fears" is my utter disgust with "dangly" things, or things that dangle. This stems from doing yard work and other outdoor chores alongside my father when I was younger. He would often, at random times and especially in autumn, shout either "Polish handkerchief!" or "Snot rocket!" and proceed to jam a finger or thumb up one of nostrils and expel the contents of his nose at me. This usually led to the discovery of some sort of mucusy nastiness dangling from some part of my body accompanied by dry heaves and occasionally an emptying of my stomach.
Lindsey does not comprehend this fear and has tried to correct what she sees as a simple, albeit strange, aversion not realizing it is a byproduct of youthful torture. Many times she has tried to show me the used portion of a Kleenex and, generally, when she sneezes she aims her face in my direction. I have since developed a compulsive need to wipe clean every part of my body after she sneezes at me, regardless of whether or not the foulness in her sinuses has made contact with me.
There remains one fear, which I admit is irrational, or at least improbable, that prior to now I have not exposed. Reflections when it is dark. Having a mother convinced that she is a) in the Matrix, b) has driven through a forcefield, and c) has legitimately lived in a haunted house, it is understandable that when the X-Files first began airing in 1993 she fell in love almost immediately. It became a Sunday night tradition to watch the X-Files as a family together, Brett usually hid somewhere, Alex was a baby, through her social derangement may stem from early exposure to the show, and I watched, enthralled.
One particular episode when I was 12 managed to do what no other episode to that time had done, terrify me. There was a cult in the show and a substitute teacher who used dark magic, holding someone's personal item over a brightly burning flame chanting, muttering, to murder the person. I had an early morning paper route that my father graciously performed over half of the work for and allowed me to take credit for as well. I was convinced, for some reason, that if I were to look into the windows or glass doors on my route that I would see reflected behind me that substitute teacher, holding one of my papers over the candle, chanting and muttering at me.
This complex was strengthened when, for some reason beyond comprehension, I twice saw the re-release of The Exorcist in the theater, late at night, coming home when the house was completely dark, quiet, and I had to walk by a full-length mirror to get to my room.
Logically I know there will be no newspaper wielding occultist substitute or demonically possessed girl in the reflection but I cannot help but keep my eyes glued to the floor when passing a mirror when it is dark. It has reached a point that I cannot look into a mirror at night, early or morning, or during an eclipse without first turning on a light. Though my electricity bill is high my deaths by dark magic or possession is low. I consider it a win and will gladly continue to pay extra each month to preserve my life.