Today in My History
Books Read in 2020
7 February 2020
A recent swap bot swap asked you to write about an irrational fear. I probably have fewer irrational fears now than I have had in the past, but the first irrational fear I had was when I was a child. I "knew" for example that if I looked at the hospital which cared for children with polio that I would catch polio.
There were snakes under my bed. I don't know that I ever told anyone, but even after I was an adult and had moved away from home, when I came home again, I did that stretched-out-leg manner of getting out of bed so my feet would not be right down on the floor by the bed.
I was also afraid of being around dragon flies. Because everybody knows that dragon flies will sew up your lips. I don't think there are remnants of that fear in me any more, but I admit that I do think of that every time I see one.
We had a teacher who used to read us "health" things right before lunch each day. I don't know where she got these terrible things but I still remember some of the things she taught us which I still think of. One story was about a kid who stood under a short palm tree and was jumping up and down. One of the palm tree fronds stuck in his head and he had to be taken into the hospital to have it removed. Fortunately any palm trees I see these days are too tall for even a giraffe to be in danger.
I don't remember how it happened, but one story was about a kid who put off going to the bathroom and eventually his kidneys exploded because he had too much urine in them.
Another story she told was about two overweight girls who sent away for diet pills. One girl took her pill right away, the other one left hers on the table until morning. In the morning, the pill that had been left on the table had turned into a tape worm. Of course that seems silly, but I was never tempted to send away for diet pills for fear that I would be taking tape worms.
My father had me terrified of being in a theater by myself to see a movie. He told me that if anybody came to sit with me, it was because they were going to inject me with a drug and I would become a drug addict. Even typing that sounds so ridiculous that I can't believe I actually LEFT a movie theater once because there was a man sitting by himself in another part of the theater, a couple of rows behind me. I couldn't concentrate on the movie because I was so worried, watching to see if he was going to get up and come in my direction.
These days I still have a few irrational fears. With all the accidents and terrorist things that have happened in airplanes, I have become afraid to fly. I can't remember the last time I flew anywhere and I try to tell myself that flying is still much safer than driving, but I have not expressed any desire to go anywhere that requires flying.
But the one big fear that I have had is trucks. I know exactly when I developed the fear and there is absolutely no reason why it should have happened.
It was July 14, 1986 and my friend Gilbert had died. When I got word that he died, I immediately went to San Francisco to "straighten up" his house (he was gay and he once told me he didn't know if his family knew--and it was none of their business). I didn't know if he had anything that would be "embarrassing" for his family to find when they arrived from Oklahoma, but I wanted to make sure that if there was anything, it was gone when they got there. I had a key to his house.
There were some things I found that I threw out -- I'm still sad that I threw out books thatt I should have donated to a library but the house was "straightened up" by the time his family arrived.
When I drove home after his funeral, I found I was terrified if I came across semi trucks on the freeway. It got worse and worse over the coming months. So bad that it took me forever to get to San Francisco if I was driving alone because I went through every frontage road I could find instead of on the freeway.
It's crazy that my truck fear was because of Gilbert's death because he died of a heart attack in the hospital following minor surgery, so his death had absolutely nothing to do with freeways or trucks, but that's when it all started.
It was so bad for a long time that Walt had to make sure he didn't drive next to a truck--or would speed up to quickly pass one. He was very good about doing that.
I still have that fear. I would rather follow behind a slow moving truck, if I'm driving, than pass the truck so I can go faster. When Walt or someone else is driving, I wear dark glasses and usually have my eyes closed, or I make sure I have a book to read so I don't have to look up.
It is totally irrational, but before this fear developed, I "knew" that my manner of death would be having a big truck roll over on top of my car. I was very matter of fact about that until Gilbert died and then that knowledge became a fear of being on the freeway, though I don't take the frontage road any more. Still, if there is a less busy road to take than the main freeway, I take that one (like driving the more quiet Hwy 505 to get to Fentons than take the busy I-80, which I did yesterday).
So if you hear that I've been killed in a car-truck accident you'll know that I've known it was going to happen for a long time!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
I love the look of these walnut trees with
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