With age comes wisdom. That’s what they say.
I believe that is true. I am much smarter now than ever before in my life.
I think about how dumb I was at twenty. Except I had absolutely no clue that I was dumb. Because I was clueless. And dumb.
It occurred to me though, the older that I get, I don’t only get wiser. I also get more fearful of random things.
I don’t mean the normal stuff. Like, something happening to a loved one. Or a horrific car crash. Or a home invasion.
Everyone worries about those things.
I am talking about other things. Things that most people wouldn’t even think about. But I do.
Here are some examples
Airplanes: Except not for the reasons you would think. Of course traveling on one is a nerve wrecking experience these days. But that isn’t what I am talking about. I’m afraid of airplanes randomly falling from the sky. I don’t live close to an airport so if I actually hear a low flying plane, then I assume that it is on a collision course with my exact location. Because airplanes fall from the sky a lot.
Storm Drains: This one started the time that I accidentally parked my vehicle with one wheel sitting on a storm drain. I exited the car and walked around. Once I noticed that I was actually on top of a storm drain grate, I froze. As though my entire seven passenger vehicle could be swallowed up by that tiny drain. I couldn’t even bring myself to get back into the vehicle to reposition it. I won’t make that mistake again.
Outside: When I was a kid, I lived outside. Because inside was boring. Last week I tried to trim the bushes in front of our house. As I stood there holding a pair of rusty garden sheers, I became anxious. I could feel the spiders and snakes watching me. Until the pressure became more than I could stand. I ran from that bush bed like I was being chased. Never to return. Well, there goes yard-of-the-month.
Cardboard: I shutter at the mere thought. I am not sure when I developed a sensory problem with cardboard. Cardboard is everywhere. But now when faced with cardboard, I practically have an out-of-body experience. I get goosebumps. I obsess over what it is going to be like to touch it. Except I am never touching it. Ever again. That’s why they make gloves.
Bridges: I didn’t used to be afraid of bridges. Now all I can think about is how my car could go careening off the side or the bridge could buckle, sending me plunging into the murky water below. And this normally happens when I am not even near a bridge. It is 100% irrational to worry about a bridge, while standing on dry land.
Death: But not the actual dying part. Everyone thinks about that. I am talking about when you get that little ache in your side. Or you feel a lump in your foot. Or suddenly one ear lobe feels larger. I look for the signs. And I assume that each one that I find, is the exact thing that is going to kill me. The beginning of the end, so to speak. And then it doesn’t. Because I am not even certain that any disease can be linked to swollen earlobes. But just because I escaped that one, doesn’t make the next one, any less threatening.
The Death Of Jimmy Fallon: I think we can all agree that Jimmy Fallon is now a necessary part of life. He brings such joy and humor into our world. A ray of sunshine. If I sit and think too much about a world without Jimmy Fallon, I become panicked. I start thinking that maybe it is my duty to help protect Jimmy Fallon from harm. Ensure his safety. For the good of the world. Except I know that would eventually end in a restraining order.
Flying Insects: I know that this could technically fall into the outside category from above. But this is a whole other level. Is it just me, or are flying insects trying to hurl themselves into us these days? Whether it’s a fly or a dragonfly. Isn’t there plenty of airspace for us both? I have embarrassed myself multiple times, driving from a chair, to avoid a collision with a june bug. I’m telling you. They have a clear agenda.
Preteen Girls: And for sure now because I have one. I don’t understand them. It is like trying to ride a roller coaster by hanging on to the outside. They speak a different language. They have a pitch to their voice, when upset, that is almost inaudible to the human ear. They can go from jovial to hysterics with one wrong word. I avoid eye contact, as to not upset her. I am sure this will get better when she is an actual teenager. (sarcasm implied)
And then the granddaddy of them all.
White Utility Vans: I watch Criminal Minds. I know what goes on in those things. I mean, if you have nothing to hide, then why not have some windows back there? I didn’t realize this was a full-blown phobia for me until the time that I came out of a store, and one was parked BESIDE my vehicle. As in by the driver’s side. I froze in my tracks. Because I knew that there was someone waiting in that van. Waiting to snatch me as I walked by. So I did what any rational, clear-thinking person would do.
I got in on the passenger side.
Too bad, Psycho Serial Killer. Left there unmurdered that day. Maybe you should consider painting your van powder blue. No one is scared of powder blue.
What scares you?