Everyone has their own tailored set of pet peeves and secret (and not so secret) fears. Some people hate rush hour traffic with a passion and others are afraid of heights. So, this got me thinking... My pet peeves and fears range from normal and rational all the way to the bizarre. Here is a list I compiled of these things and the reasons why they are on my list in the first place- in no particular order.
1. E.T. Yes, that cute little pop culture alien that won over the hearts of millions back in the early 80s. I can't stand that little bugger. And no, he is not a pet peeve. He is just plain creepy. I can't sit through that movie without getting the willies. I can't really explain this one beyond what I have already said, but Seth enjoys torturing me with the fact that I loath the creepy little cutie. He has even changed the sounds on the computer to freak me out. (I.E. when I log onto the desktop it used to say, "Elliot" and when I logged off it would say, "Phone Home". That was mean, Seth!!! MEAN!)
2. Fish. I don't like them. I'd love to say that this is simple. In my mind it is rational, but in the rest of the world's mind, I'm totally loony. That's OK. I can be loony about a few things now and then. There are several levels to this one, and it has amused my friends and family and baffled my acquaintances. Id like to start by saying that by "fish" I mean both the aquarium occupants and the thing served poached with lemon and butter. I used to love ordering the battered fried haddock at Friendly's when I was a kid. Fish sticks were a favorite. I loved watching my pretty little tetras and zebra fish in our little aquarium at home. I never connected the two. Until we added some tiger barbs to our little tank and they decided to eat all the cute little fish and leave the dead half eaten on the bottom of the tank. Even thinking about this as I write is making me squeamish. Eventually, the only fish that remained was the lord of the tiger barbs. He was mean and he ate his aquarium mates- which, by the way, the kid in the pet store positively assured us, they would all get along! HA! (A side note to you pet shop employees: know your fish before you send home mortal enemies doomed to the same tank. It could scar a person for life. Trust me.) It doesn't end here. Nothing would kill this fish. (PETA, calm down, I was just a kid.) We didn't feed it for days and it lived. Eventually it died of a complete accident. But, boy were we all relieved. I wanted to put the fish massacres behind me. Unfortunately, I had to relive the horror when our two cats, Dandy(lion) and Rose discovered that they could catch the neighbors Koi from his pond and bring home their own dinner. It wouldn't have bothered me so much, but they would bring home these fish still alive. Scales would get everywhere. And my brother used to find it amusing to put the remains in the dog food bag knowing it was my job to feed the dog. Thanks, Josh. I suppose that was some sort of Karma payback for me and Jessica forcing him to wear a dress when we were all younger..... I don't know. Childhood is all about who pranked who, Even Stevens, and tag teaming. Anyway, back to the fish... These images are forever ingrained in my memory. I have such trouble with fish. Especially dead ones. You will never see me in a sea food restaurant if I can help it. I don't mind the Boston Aquarium at all, and I love taking the kids to see the Lobsters in the grocery store. But I don't think I will ever keep a 10 gallon tank with the pretty little tetras again. And then, here is where people scratch their heads.... We have a 65 gallon tank with the biggest ugliest pond fish a person could have: an oscar. Yes, the fish was my idea. And yes, he started in a 10 gallon tank. He was a birthday present for Seth about five years ago. He loves fish. And this was the one he liked. It was ugly and it had personality. We had to move Oscar the oscar to a bigger tank and he is now huge. He survived 2 moves, although this last one almost killed him. While he is a big creepy looking thing, he is the only exception to my fish rule. He's an aquatic puppy. I know. I don't make sense sometimes. But its true. I love the reactions people give when they see him for the first time. It's pretty amusing. When he's gone, I think his tank may be converted into a terrarium, however. Like I said, he is my only exception to the fish rule. When he's gone, there will be no more fish. Right, Seth? Right?! You know its bad when your worst dreams involve fish floating through the air sans water or fish tank... And, no I don't think there is anything Freudian about it.
3. The purple pizza monster from Chuck E. Cheese. OK, so he doesn't scare me now. But when I was a kid, he used to freak me the heck out. I'm sorry, but whoever thought a purple monster with huge teeth that wants to steal birthday pizza from a bunch of kids was a great character for a children's theme restaurant should immediately be fired from marketing. And while he is packing his desk, perhaps they should find out who invented that giant animatronic lion dressed as Elvis that was also a part of the same restaurant and fire him as well. Seriously. He used to freak me out too. I get that they thought it was "clever" that the King of the Forest was dressed as the King of Rock and Roll. Very cute. Except that, whoever thought of the term "king of the forest" to describe a lion should also be fired. Lions live on the plains of Africa. Not in forests.
4. Motorcycles. I like these actually, but you would NEVER catch me riding on one. I know way too many paramedics that scrape operators of such modes of transportation off the pavement to want to ride one. However, why I am listing this here, is because, while I am not afraid of the vehicle itself, I am deathly afraid of hitting one in case I don't see it in my blind spot. So afraid of this, in fact, that Seth has pointed out that I will always be aware of them and not hit them. This might be true, but it still scares me.
5. Lightning. Many of my friends love watching lightning. I actually like watching it too, but it makes me VERY nervous. To be honest, I think most people are not afraid of the lightning itself, but the startling noise it makes: thunder. Not me. Thunder can't hurt me. But if I was struck by a kajillion bolts of static electricity, Id be a goner. I don't like or trust lightning. Although, I might stand on my front porch and attempt to take cool pictures of it- if its far enough away.
6. Being "left behind." This one might perplex some of you readers of a different faith. That's OK. Chalk this one up to the whole "fear of death" or "afterlife" thing. In my faith, a big debate that plagues churches everywhere is the "rapture" debate. While the specific word is never used in Revelation, the last book in the Bible, it is a word we use for an event that we believe is supposed to happen sometime around the end of time. The argument is generally when and who. I grew up in a very paranoid time in the church and this was often used as scare tactic for Sunday School children to behave. It worked, but sometimes I think it was a poorly chosen method to keep us out of trouble. The idea of a tribulation where the world will hunt down and kill Christians for simply believing in God scares the tar out of me. If a rapture is supposed to happen, I'd like to be included in it... Although, the idea of floating to heaven after a whole mess of undead Christians frightens me a little too... I don't entirely discount the idea of a rapture, or that I will take part in it. These are just the things that concern me. I've seriously had nightmares centered around this.
7. Coyotes. When I was a child I was afraid of coyotes, lions- mountain or otherwise, and jaguars. I used to think they would hide under the back deck and eat me when I headed out to feed the dog at night. Although, in my mind, the coyotes were generally an aqua or green color with yellow or orange polka dots. Like in some kind of Southwest painting. I had dreams centered around this. My parents used to assure me that there were no such creatures in rural NH. I am now an adult and know that there are. They might not be technicolored and resemble more of a mangy wolf-like creature, but they do exist in the great Northeast. In fact, they are even more common on Cape Cod than in my home town in NH. Ive seen them cross through my yard a few times last summer. I no longer fear them like I did when I was a kid, but I wouldn't invite their presence either.
8. Aliens. OK, so I'm not one of those UFO nuts (my apologies to my friends that are...) that believe in conspiracy theories or government cover ups, but I have seen my share of alien movies. And in pretty much all of them (with the exception of Disney's The Navigator- I loved that movie.) freaked me out. Let's face it. If there really were some intelligent life out there, why would they be interested in us? Our planet, maybe. But us? As humans, we pretty much suck a lot of the time. We fight. We don't like change. We always fight with one another. We are selfish a lot of the time. I think if an extra terrestrial race ever came here looking for first contact, even on friendly grounds, we'd try to blow them up. We are afraid of things we don't understand. And to be completely honest, we wouldn't have a chance against an alien, unless he had some bizarre weakness- like water (Signs) or malware (Independence Day.) Here's why I think so: 1- if they had the technology to visit us, they are more advanced than us. We haven't even walked on Mars yet. We try to blow them up, chances are they have a laser that can destroy us.... Not to mention, we already pretty much have the technology to destroy ourselves.... We might just beat the aliens to the punch. 2- if they had some kind of weakness- such as a severe allergy to water Ala the Wicked Witch of the West, then why would they come to a planet covered in it and people and creatures that are made up of it. Just wondering. 3- while I think destroying alien enemies with malware is super geeky cool, I must refer to #1 and that if they have the technology to come here in the first place, it would be pretty hard to hack their systems.... Just saying. An alien visitation can't be a good thing- whether the visitors think it might or not. It will end disastrously.
9. Peeing my pants on stage. Oh, I know. I'm a total nutcase. But, still. I am afraid of this. This can be categorized with "forgetting my lines" or "forgetting the lyrics to that solo I'm singing" or "burping into the microphone". I have actually forgotten the lyrics to a song once, but people thought it was a technical issue (until now... Thanks for being my scapegoat, Sound guy!) so I was pretty safe. I've never burped into a microphone that I can remember and I am pretty familiar and comfortable around the stage. I don't know why this particular fear haunts me, but it does. So, whenever I know I am on stage to sing or act, just like before a long car ride, I make sure I go.
and *drum roll*
10. Finding a worm or bug in my food. Chalk this one up to experience. All too often I have discovered little nasties in my food from various places. This is worse than hair- human or otherwise. I'm talking about worms or bugs. One time my sister and were eating macaroni and cheese when we were kids, and we each found a piece of the same worm on our plates.... It was a long time before either of us would touch macaroni and cheese again. Or then there is the time we made and canned our own salsa from the vegetables in our garden. The stuff was pretty amazing until we discovered somehow a tomato worm got past us and into one of the jars. That was the grossest thing I have found in my food thus far.
There are many things in this world that scare and frighten people, and many of us share the more rational ones (like losing a loved one, or even, dare I mention it, the dark. Yeah, I know I am not the only one.) This was my more lighthearted list of things that bug me. I realize I just opened a whole can of worms (not to be confused with #10....) and will probably be made fun of mercilessly for the things I wrote here, but be careful. I have a blog. I can put your irrational fears here. ;-)