Fears I Didn't Even Know I Had

Monday, January 27, 2014

I would never say I'm a person who suffers from phobias in the real, clinical sense of the word. I would certainly say, though, that I'm a person prone to fear - in the broad, general sense of the word. I've always been anxious (I'm a twenty-something Jewish woman, which means the very fibers of my being are practically cemented together by a mixture of neuroticism & concern), but as my anxiety has worsened, so has my tendency to be afraid of, um, everything. Since moving back to the city, I've picked up a few new fears that are admittedly ridiculous & only occasionally debilitating.

Fires: I spent Thanksgiving with a friend who works in code enforcement, & somehow, our holiday table talk turned toward discussion of the Great White Nightclub Fire of 2007. What began as a conversation about building code violations took a turn for the macabre when we decided to watch video footage of the blaze, starting a few minutes before the flames broke out & ending in total devastation. Since then, I've found myself wary of any restaurant or bar (I'm lookin' at you, Science Club basement) that seems likely to keep me boxed in in the event of a fiery inferno. Cinder block walls & one exit door at the end of an long corridor? Yeah, I'm gonna die, bye.

Getting mugged: Remember how I said these fears were ridiculous? This one isn't. At all. I know a distressing number of people who've been mugged, & some in neighborhoods considered otherwise unscary. One of my male friends was robbed near H Street when he got off a bus in the rain. Two female coworkers were robbed on their walk home to Shaw. Another male friend has twice been robbed at gunpoint in Friendship Heights, of all places. Basically, no place is safe & no person is immune. I walk with my pepper spray at the ready, checking over my shoulder like a crazy person & remaining obnoxiously vigilant while I walk, probably to the point of freaking out the non-muggers around me. Elderly people & other single women are immune to my general paranoia, but if you're a dude or walking in a group, I'm pretty sure you're about to take me for all I'm worth (which isn't much, except for the whole being alive part, which I rather value).

Snakes inside Craigslist furniture:
This one is very specific, I know, but I read a few weeks ago about some people who found a dying snake inside their secondhand couch. (I swear I found a story that went more in-depth about the snake being a pet of the couch's previous owners, but I can't find that one anymore & now wonder whether it was a figment of my imagination.) I still have basically no furniture - & also basically no money - but I'd rather live in a sad dancefloor of an empty apartment than take in couches inhabited by dying snakes. Or any snakes, really. No snakes, please.

I can't be the only person with (mostly) unfounded fears, right? Right? I'd love to hear what niggling fears keep you up at night - or from buying furniture online.

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