Things That Creak

Most people have one or two or maybe more phobias, or irrational fears. Ever since I briefly dated a guy whose father owned a construction company that repaired apartment balconies, I’ve had, what some call an “irrational fear” of being on a balcony.

The fear developed after hours of stories from this guy (who worked with his dad over the summer) about how unsafe most apartment balconies are – at least the ones he worked on. How sometimes he could things apart on balconies with his bare hands; or how the balcony he’d been working on that day would have collapsed the next time someone set foot on it; or how landlords had been ordered to repair balconies and didn’t.

So then a couple of weeks ago this apartment balcony has collapsed in Ottawa. Six young people were hurt – two of them quite seriously. And, they were only 3 floors up.

I’m thinking of this today because I just spent a horrifying  lovely weekend with my mother. There are a lot of things I could be purging recounting about the weekend, but let’s stick to the balcony. My mother has a balcony.  She has about 900 pounds of plants, wrought iron patio furniture and garden gnomes out there. She’s six floors up and likes to mock me because I won’t go out there. We’ll see who laughs last, ma.

I feel the same way about carnival rides.  It’s not the height that worries me so much as that I’m certain none of this stuff is in good working order. You hear about roller coasters rolling off their coasters all the time. There’s a whole website devoted to carnival ride disasters.

So, really being reluctant to go on balconies or carnival rides isn’t an irrational fear at all, is it? It’s actually more rational than not being afraid of these things. Can you rationalize your phobias?