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?



19 responses to “Things That Creak

  1. I have a “phobia” of things falling on me. Like, meteorites or airplane debris. Or bridges/overpasses collapsing on me. It’s irrational because it’s statistically quite irrational to think you’ll get hit by a meteorite while lying in bed at night. The other things though, like bridge collapses, or say, jet engines (a la Donnie Darko) is a bit more rational. It doesn’t keep me from going outside (because my logic says that I can get crushed inside too, since a roof is no match for my phobias) but I feel a bit anxious when driving or standing under overpasses. = yikes.

  2. frogs. irrational, debilitating fear of frogs. when i was a kid, a nasty neighbourhood kid ripped 1 or two legs off of a live frog and threw it down my shirt and it flopped around until i could shake it out. needless to say, it traumatized me (i know it’s not the frog’s fault). i hope that kid/now adult is locked up somewhere. *shiver*

  3. I’ve never thought much about balconies (but now I will!) but I agree with you about carnival rides. I can’t believe those things are inspected or maintained the way they should be (I’m talking the traveling ones here, not the big parks).

    I’m afraid of spiders but my really irrational fear has to do with lightning. I’m terrified of being outside during a lightning storm and I won’t touch the faucets or touch anything electrical during a thunder and lightning storm. I’m such a freak.

  4. I loathe spiders, but I don’t think I’m phobic, because I’m the one who has to deal with them in the house. I don’t like to do it, but I do it.

    I agree with the carnival rides, the travelling ones. I never go on the Ferris wheel at the Carp Fair because I worry that it wasn’t put up right.

  5. I used to think my irrational fear of carnival rides was really due to vertigo. Which made it less irrational.
    Thanks, now you’ve added a whole new spin to that I never thought about, because I would never think about those rides due to my previous irrational fear.

  6. Em – bridges collapse all the time, too, so that’s not irrational. And stuff falls out of the sky a lot hurting and maiming and even killing people. It’s always best to be cautious

    Meanie – I’d be more afraid of that kid, but I can see how frogs might freak you out to this day. How do you feel about that frog prince story?

    Kimberly – I’ve probably saved your life with the balcony warning! Lightening is also something to be afraid of — not irrational at all. People should be more afraid of lightening. It would be such a stupid way to die… “oh ya, she died…she got hit by lightening.”

    Alison – If you ever watched how quickly and sloppily they slap those things up and knock ’em back down after the carnival, you’d never go near carnival rides. My daughter is freaked by spiders, too. I don’t see a problem with them — unless you live somewhere that has poisonous spiders. Then I’d stay away from them, too.

    Violetsky – “whole new spin” — good one! Even the word “carnival” means festival of the dead, for pete’s sake! The rides, the gruesome food, the carnies themselves. Carnivals are very dangerous places. Stay well away!!

  7. I have 2 phobias…

    not getting that vortex thing done in time
    now the fear of not finding the right fashionable heel that you can comfortably walk a couple of miles in….

    Life was so much easier last month!

  8. My phobias will skyrocket me to the top of your ‘blogging pals who should be medicated’ list.

    Both involve sleeping…

    I cannot sleep with the closet door open or ajar. Something about that black abyss within.

    And, my feet have to be covered by a sheet and/or blanket for me to fall asleep. I’m safe from the Boogie Man (the scary one, not the dancing machine) as long as my feet aren’t exposed. I imagine someone slithering out from under the bed and grabbing my feet. But, you know they become invisible once concealed with a blanket.

    I’ll have my cooky cooky cocoa puffs now, thank you.

  9. I have phobophobia: I’m deathly afraid of being afraid of things.
    As for carnival rides, I can’t do many of them anyway, cuz I puke a lot.

  10. Hunter – Don’t think of this as a complication in your life, but rather as a new purpose. You now have at least 2 more reasons for getting up in the morning.

    OTC – Aha – I knew I could count on you. I like to have my feet out at night, but I need to have my groin and middle area covered (fear of succubi and incubi perhaps). I’ve never thought about the closet doors — they’re always shut anyhow, but I make a point of keeping the toilet seat down (when not in use).

    Becky – Excellent point. I think we’ve single handedly put carnivals out of business. (and saved millions of lives) Wooo-hooo for us.

    Bob – We really must meet some time, you sound like such a rip-roaring fun guy.

    Deb – So true. So very true. People don’t seem to understand that caves, coffins and telephone booths have only a limited supply of air and living space.

  11. I’m still afraid the gym is going to collapse under the weight of all that fitness equipment. I don’t think of it every time I’m there, but once I start thinking of it, that’s it. I can’t wait to get out of there.

    I’m also phobic about bulls and public speaking and for the life of me I can’t figure out why everybody isn’t terrified of them.

  12. Of course, you can count on me. I think you pose these questions just to see what sorts of freaks out there read your site. And, how much of the ‘freak’ they’re willing to share.

    I don’t mind letting my freak flag fly.

    Oh, and I’m with you on the toilet seat/lid down. I imagine the city’s sewer vapors fuming up through my opened toilet.

    I imagine far too much.

  13. Jazz – I think there’s a website for pretty much everything.
    I like bizaree – there’s probably a website for people who spell bizarre that way

    Zoom – I didn’t know there were bulls that did public speaking, but you’re right, that would be terrifying. I imagine a lot of huffing and puffing and the whole front row getting spewed full of bull spit. I also shudder to think what would happen if you didn’t fork over the speaker’s fee right away.

    OTC – It’s true, I shamelessly encourage everyone’s inner freak. I’m surprised you’re not afraid of twins, though. They always scared me with their secret languages and psychic communication skills and sometimes they even look the same. I read a lot of Bobbsey Twins as a child and they were super freaky.