Tag Archives: Fears

The Problem With Getting From Here To There

Thanks to TShearer226 at WANA Commons for the use of this image

I’ve always had a thing with bridges. As a kid, my father crossed into Canada over the Rainbow Bridge, and I held my breath and prayed.

Now each time I drive over a bridge, the kind where you can’t see the other side, I am certain the end is near. I make elaborate plans and cry.

Not too long ago, I went to Florida. I didn’t realize that in order to get to Sarasota from the Tampa airport was I was going to have to cross the Sunshine Skyway.

Doesn’t that sound lovely?

The Sunshine Skyway.

Doesn’t it sound like you will be traveling on a path to the sun? Wouldn’t you expect puffy white clouds and a unicorn escort? And rainbows? And G-d?

I anticipated the wind in my curls. And angels.

It didn’t go down like that.

The Sunshine Skyway is 4.1 miles of steel and concrete hell. And crossing that bitch transformed me into a one woman freak show.

From a distance, it looked pretty.

English: Sunshine Skyway. Tampa Bay, Florida. ...

English: Sunshine Skyway. Tampa Bay, Florida. Photo © 2004 Thomas Parker (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like two white sailboats decided to drop anchor and hover in the sky. Forever.

As I approached the tollbooth and handed the attendant my $1.25, I looked for a place to pull over and mentally prepare myself for the crossing over.

Except there was no place to stop.

I just had to go.

I wanted to hold my breath, but I figured passing out at the wheel while suspended 431 feet in the air would lead to swerving, probably an accident, which would probably not be appreciated by other drivers.

If you tipped a football field on its side, I was still suspended 71 feet higher!

But GPS Jill cooed and promised me Paradise was only 47 minutes away.

I just had to get over that freaking bridge.

English: Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

English: Sunshine Skyway Bridge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I stayed on my side of the dotted white line, profoundly aware that I was surrounded by nothing but sky.

I gripped the steering wheel of my rental car white-knuckled and started making emergency escape plans.

I felt around and found the button to open my window.

I unbuckled my seatbelt.

I figured if I drove over the side of the Skyway, I would not be stupid, caught inside a sinking car that would slowly fill with water. No, I have watched too much Lifetime Television for Women to make that mistake. I was not going to drown. Assuming I survived impact, I would simply glide out my open window.

I wiggled out of my sweater. I knew it would weigh me down, and I needed to be ready to swim. Obviously. Without my sweater, the air conditioning was too cold, but I dared not fuss with it.

I think it was a gorgeous day, but I can’t say for certain. The sun was bright in my eyes, and it was too late to find my sunglasses stashed in their case at the bottom of my bag.

Refusing to blink, I stared straight ahead and kept my eyes on the road. As tears poured down my cheeks, I wondered what was wrong with me.

I drove slower.

Like old lady slow.

From out of my peripheral vision, I realized that the structures I had thought looked like pretty white sailboats were not white at all. They were, in fact, a complex series of yellow-orange cables. Cables. The whole dang bridge is suspended by skinny cables.

I knew that bridge was going down.

A man in a black pick-up truck passed me and flipped me the bird. His arm was very tan.

The moment I could see The Other Side, Roger Daltry came on the radio and started to sing “I’m free.” I swear this happened. You cannot make this stuff up.

So there I was, singing along with him and laughing like a dork because I was fine.

But I need to have a serious chat with GPS Jill. Because while I proved I can make it over the bridge – clearly, I need to find an alternate route.

Anyone else out there afraid of bridges? If bridges don’t freak you out, what does?


I’m Afraid

this morning

the little things scared me

i remembered

i’m afraid

of the dark and

dirt under my fingernails

stepping on thumbtacks

and the windows of my car getting stuck

in the down position

or the up position

i remembered that i’m afraid of rats and

cheese aged over 100 days


microwave rays

i’m afraid of potatoes

because i see

a similarity

between them and me:  i have too many eyes

work in disguise

have felt the earthy rot

from within

i fear i’m too noisy

and then {i fear} I’m leading too quiet a life and

i’m afraid

of that man

who enters daily

through my eyes

{he could leap out of bed and never return}

i’m afraid of dying

in an absurd place

near a tobacco stand or

on a street corner where

old people linger.

i’ve a fear of drowning

being held upside down

under water, tangled in seaweed

and ocean.  i’m afraid

of dawn’s outstretched arms

and the morning which screams

a promise between overlapping teeth

I’m afraid that

“Chicken Little” was right

{and the sky is falling}

i’m afraid no one will keep

the door open for me and

i’m afraid of being alone on the other side of the door.

i’m afraid of standing

beside buildings, so tall

not because they might fall

on me, but because cigarette smoke

and hate

drift upward

choke the sky

i’m afraid of the way my heart dangles carefree

on a string

and i’m afraid

that if you look in my eyes

you might see some ancient madness there

i’m afraid of being wrongly accused

afraid that i haven’t suffered nearly enough

but mostly i’m afraid of

my right hand, the way it guides me.  It is

much older than i, comes down gray as

an eyeball

is godless

and without it

i am not here, never was.

My mother once told me

that i should

never tell anyone

what scares me the most

that they would surely

use it against me

so if you ask me

if i am afraid,

i will deny everything.

Truly, I am afraid of posting something that is pretty controversial. I am afraid that I will lose subscribers. I am going to do it on 3/13. But I’m really scared. Tell me what you are scared of.

In Fear of Lice

I am not a fearful person. I’m not afraid of roaches. I’m not afraid of spiders and have been known to pick them up by their legs and toss them out of the house onto the grass. I’m not afraid of snakes and have enjoyed the cool squeeze of a constrictor as it wrapped around my torso. While I do not like the idea of suffering, I am not afraid of death. I’m not afraid that someone will try to steal my child. I’m not afraid of fire and, once, in a New Orleans restaurant, a waiter whisked away my pretty red candle because I kept pouring hot wax onto my palm (and the fancy tablecloth). I’m not afraid of the dark and have taken long walks on overcast nights when there is no moon or stars. I’m not afraid of thunder and lightning, and while a young’un at Camp Seneca Lake, I used to run outside into torrential downpours with a bottle of shampoo to wash my hair while the sky reverberated and flickered. (I didn’t say I was smart; I just said I wasn’t scared.) There are plenty of other things I’m not afraid of.

I am, however, terrified of lice.

My fear of lice is partially irrational because I have never had them, but I have known many families who have been afflicted, and I am smart enough to know that I never want to meet a dirty, blood-sucking louse. I have heard the tales of woe: how the damn things keep coming back even after people picked-nits and bagged favorite pillows, washed towels and linens, even threw out hair brushes, combs and expensive hair accessories.

I have long, thick, curly hair and it seems like clippers would be inevitable. Like Samson from the Old Testament, I am nothing without my hair, so every time that damn letter comes home saying someone in my child’s class has contracted lice, I feel a little sick inside.

The tiny bugs, no bigger than sesame seeds, spread easily among children who are most likely to come into close head-to-head contact with one another. So while I don’t fall into the “at-risk category,” I do have a 10-year old son who ships out to summer camp each year for three weeks, so I feel my worries aren’t completely unwarranted as someone always comes home with the little buggers.

My good friend has sworn on a bottle of Quell that in the unlikely event I should ever contract lice, she would be my nitpicker. She is a very good friend.

I recently learned that some lice have become resistant to over-the counter remedies. (Be still, my heart!) When that happens, pediatricians sometimes choose to provide prescriptions for heavy-duty pesticides. Although some experts believe exposure in small doses to these chemicals is perfectly safe, these days many parents worry about dumping toxic substances on their children’s heads. (Note: I am not afraid of chemicals.) That said, I just happened to come across a great article about treating lice that talks about using Cetaphil skin cleanser and a hair dryer that “had a 95% success rate when repeated once a week for three weeks.”

So while I am still revolted by the possibility that lice could come into my life, I feel armed with more information and as children head off to summer camps across this great land – perhaps, this cheap and seemingly effective treatment might bring some relief to other moms who live in fear of lice.

Is it just me or is anyone else’s head really itchy?