Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I told you I was curious, I never said that I was brave.

(So Long, Marianne,  Leonard Cohen)

Last week, while visiting friends in Milwuakee, I casually, unsuspectedly, scratched my back. Much to my surprise, my back responded in the form of multiple teeny legs that wiggled when touched. I screamed and didn’t stop screaming until Joe had successfully removed the adversary (tick) from my precious back. Rather unfortunately, over the next two days we found two more ticks, both on Joe. His forest-escapees were both carriers of the notoriously unpleasant Lyme disease, while mine was simply a dumb looking unnecessary wood tick from our generous planet. I’ll keep you updated as to Joe’s health, but most likely he’ll be okay on account of a remarkable internal capacity for tolerance.

Lyme disease carrying deer tick.
Initially I boasted of a near death experience, but when Joe had a similar encounter with ticks that actually carry a disease I had to back off a little with my bravado. Still, the incident left me reflecting on all the things out there, creepy-crawlies or otherwise, that I’m afraid of. It’s a hard topic to quantify because in broad terms I am afraid of just about everything. When my friend and I went to see Chita Rivera on broadway I was horrified, to the point of panic-stricken, that the poor woman was going to drop dead while “dancing on the kitchen table” (she’s like 92). What fun is life if you’re always worried about what other people are going to do? On the other hand, there are times when it pays to be frightened. When I was a freshman in college I walked to and from my school in the pedestrian friendly streets of San Francisco, but when it was night time I walked with trepidation. One night a shiny black car deliberately slowed as it passed me, then made a U-turn at the next intersection and came back. When it pulled up next to me the driver, a young guy in his early 20’s, rolled down the window and started to ask me where I was going. I cut him off by screaming and waving my arms. I tell you what, he didn’t waste any time driving off; he may have meant me no harm but I wasn’t interested in finding out.

Fear can easily be broken into 3 categories: things that scare me, things that I worry about, and general paranoia. For the sake of my forthcoming list, we’ll leave the salient differences out and group everything together as “Things I am Afraid of”. I’ll also leave out worries I have for other people—for example when my brother rides his motorcycle, or when my other brother goes cliff-diving in the precariously low waters of Lake Mead.

Things I am Afraid of:

-flying objects, especially when they’re rapidly approaching my face (i.e. footballs, baseballs, dodgeballs…)

-Sarah Palin and how through her awesome stupidity she has followers in the millions

-Books like this that make me wonder when our literary standards fell so low (I read it and can fully attest to it being entirely unnecessary)

-gang members, or otherwise hateful people

-the future of plants and animals in nature; defenseless yet necessary

-the dark, especially when I’m home alone

-getting seriously lost on a hike


-hormones, pesticides, and other chemicals in our food

-cliff exposure, though so far it hasn't stopped me from climbing

-getting abducted

-my car tires blowing out on the freeway, causing an accident

This list is quite incomplete but those are the things I’ve come up with so far. Feel free to add to it as you see fit. A few things that won’t make the list are camping alone and bears, thanks to this book. What are YOU afraid of?


Carol said...

I have so many "what am I afraid of" things that it would take too much space to list them here. I guess I'll have to blog about it AND my own tick story. It was bad, but I won't get dramatic and minimize the seriousnous of Joe's tick since mine weren't Lymey kind of ticks. PS--you should be afraid of camping alone...just saying.

Ron said...

As for your screaming response to the tick, I'm sure it scared the tick right off you... Just do the same thing IF you get lost hiking or if you get abducted, cause they're gonna kill you anyway. yes, quit camping/hiking alone...