My semi-rational fears include: wasps/bees/yellow jackets, scorpions, falling from a high elevation, and getting eaten by a shark. These things cause me fear because they will all consistently cause pain or introduce me to death, I am not a very big fan of either.
I don’t like pain. I am not ashamed to admit that I run every time a bee is near me, I beat a scorpion abount 50 times with a shoe (not mine) just to make sure it’s dead, I never get close to the edge when I’m in elevated locations, and I don’t swim past the roped off areas in oceans. So as far as rational fears go, my bases are covered.
What I am unsure of is whether or not my irrational fears will consume me. These are the fears that I control, but wish I didn’t. I mean, I wish they were under control, sort of like breathing, then life would be a lot simpler.
At work a couple of weeks ago I had to sit through a boring presentation. Forty other people attended this training seminar, but somehow I figured that 40 other people did not share the same senseless fear that I had. Ten minutes into the hour and a half seminar I felt an urge. It was a familiar urge, an irrational fear if you will. It was an urge to yell something really loud, it didn’t matter what it was, it just needed to be loud. I was thinking “balls”. I knew that would grab the attention of everyone in the room and the thought became so appealing. I knew the moment would have been embarrassing, but in my head I knew I would be able to laugh at it later. Nevertheless, it was up to me to control and suppress my fear and I was worried that the urge would grow stronger and stronger. I knew I couldn’t yell in a quiet room, my social skills held me accountable, but the fact that I wasn’t supposed to made me want to do it anyway (or was it that pint-sized guy on my right shoulder?).
I have other ridiculous fears too. I don’t attend a whole lot of weddings, but when I do I can’t relax until I’ve made it through the part where the priest asks the congregation if anyone objects to the wedding. While I sit patiently, my palms sweat as I think about being the one to object. I think about standing up, proclaiming in a loud voice that “I do”, and then telling everyone that I have always wanted to do that when asked why I objected. It wouldn’t have anything to do with who is getting married, my ideology of marriage, or anything else. It would have everything to do with the fact that I know I shouldn’t, that I know I have no reason to object, and that nobody else ever does. The 21st century could do me a favor and take that question out of there. Until then, it’s just another fear I have to keep a close eye on.
I hate backing up in parking lots. I have a fear of hitting someone as I back up. That may sound rational and I agree that it is, but what isn’t is that I have a fear of running someone over and pulling back up and running over them again in a state of panic, which then transfers my rational fear into an irrational one. I hope this never happens, but the fact that I am capable of it creeps me out. I don’t completely relax until I’m moving forward (and nobody is lying on the pavement).
I only get to sit and think about my next absurd fear when I’m in the process of getting pulled over (which, lucky for me, is on rare occasions). Maybe I have watched too many episodes of COPS or too many OJ Simpson car chases in my lifetime, but I fear that one day, when a cop is trying to pull me over, I will slam on the gas pedal and try to outrun him. Let me stress the fact that I would never have any reason to do this (unless of course you count that one time when my stomach was grumbling and…well, nevermind). I’ve seen the shows and I’m no fool, nobody EVER gets away, unless you work in fast food and you talk to the guy with the Dale Earnhardt hat, he has a story for everything. I wouldn’t try to outrun the police to get away, I just know that I’m not supposed to…and that the thought always crosses my mind, even if it’s just for a split second.
The probabilities of getting eaten by a shark are way better than any of my irrational fears actually taking place (unfortunately), but they are still fears. I’ll never yell an incoherent word or sentence in the middle of a meeting, object to a marriage I could care less about, back up and run someone over only to pull up and run them over again, or try to outrun the cops, but the fact that I am capable of doing them and have been trained not to since my conception makes me want to. So until I actually carry one of these things out they will always be fears of mine, but if I ever do you’ll be the first to know.