Irrational fear of ???

December 17, 2010

Phobia_tweak

I fear nothing. I used to be terribly afraid of spiders, but then I started living with centipedes. Spiders ain’t nothin’ anymore! There are things that make me uncomfortable, from vaguely to quite, but I’m certain I don’t have any out and out phobias.

The first thing that comes to mind is looking down on water from a high bridge. I’m not afraid of heights and I’m not afraid of water. But when I look over the railing at wide, moving water, I kind of get the creeps. 

In particular, I don’t like the Ford Bridge on 46th Street in south Minneapolis that spans the Mississippi River. Twenty-two years ago when I lived here the first time, I lived in a dorm, and that gave me easy access to the bike trails along the Mighty Mississippi. I’d ride down one side and come back on the other. The Ford Bridge was the last convenient crossing, so I used it a lot. I don’t know how my discomfort got started. I theorize that it might have developed on those occasions when I stopped to watch the river. I find moving water, whether it’s a river or the sea, to be hypnotic. But a road bridge vibrates with each passing vehicles, and maybe it was the shakiness combined with not being able to see the floor of the river and imagining how deep it was that got to me. Who knows. But eventually I ceased stopping because I didn’t want to be drawn into contemplating the bottom of the river. Most of the time on other bridges, such as the Hennepin Avenue Bridge in downtown Minneapolis (pictured above, and also spanning the Mississippi Rive), this sensation isn’t as pronounced and if can I keep myself from thinking about it, I can enjoy watching the water flow.

The other thing that makes me nervous is escalators in a crowd. I know exactly the reason behind this one. Six or seven years ago, I went to a baseball game in the old Yankee Stadium and our seats were in the upper deck. We joined the throng of people in gliding up one of the escalators that was available. Only, whether it was because the people already upstairs were blocking the way or because our fellow riders didn’t know which way to go, a bit of a pile-up occurred at the top of the escalator. Many people before us simply stopped immediately upon disembarking and the next thing I knew, the escalator was still moving but there was nowhere to go and we were getting pushed into the people ahead of us and the people behind us were getting fed into us. It was very panic-inducing.

So now, if I have to make an escalator journey in a mass of people, I leave an abnormally large amount of space between me and the people ahead of me. And if I can avoid the escalator altogether in that kind of situation, I will. I’m very glad the new home of the Minnesota Twins, Target Field, has old-fashioned walking ramps and easy access to stairs. I have noticed, though, that there are ushers at the ends of the escalators helping people to keep moving, but a lot of the time, I will take the ramps or the stairs.

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