What Are You Afraid Of?

I’m not a person who typically scares too easy these days. I still don’t really enjoy purely horror movies, as I don’t like jump scares much at all. But over the past few months, I’ve had two experiences come up that highlighted some areas where I’m more afraid of things than I thought I was.

First, the balconies in Hungary. Two of the apartments we stayed in where on upper floors of the building. Fourth floor or so. And in both cases, they had these long outdoor corridors that had nothing between you and a very long drop to the ground but a seemingly-flimsy metal railing that wasn’t even that high. I found myself practically hugging the wall each time I had to walk down one of those, and I kept yelling at my kids to stay away from the edge. The image of how easy it would be for someone to fall over those railings was just too hard for me to get out of my head. I still shudder to think about it.

The second experience happened earlier this week. I was down in my basement checking my oil tank to see if we were approaching the time when we’d need to fill up. And as I was down there, in that dimly lit space stuffed with storage bins and cobwebs, something . . . scrabbled. Claws on cement. This was too loud for a scurry. I’ve got plenty of experience hearing mice in the walls these days. (Old farmhouse.) No, this had weight to it.

I froze and looked around, eyeing all the places where something my dart out from the shadows at me. I moved a little, and the sound repeated. This time I could tell better where it was coming from. I looked over and saw a large rat crawling up the wall and then streaking off into the crawlspace.

That, my friends, gave me the heebie jeebies.

Of course, I went right upstairs and grabbed the rat trap from my garage, plastered it with peanut butter, and took it down to the basement. But then I had to put it right where I’d seen the rat, and it took a fair bit of effort for me to get the gumption to stick my hand out and place the trap down. I managed to force myself to do it, but I couldn’t dismiss the thought of a rat darting out and attacking me. Never mind the fact that I’ve lived with pet degus for years, and I know how skittish the creatures can be. Down there, the fear instincts were much stronger.

(We’ve caught two rats now, if you’re wondering. And yes, I’m disgusted. But dead rats are much preferable to live rats. One of the things I like least about my house is how easy it is for critters to get in. Not enough to outweigh all the things I love about it, but still . . .

Anyway. There are two irrational fears I’ve recently had. How about you? Anything you’ve caught yourself fearing, even though you know you don’t really need to fear them?


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