Saturday, February 20, 2010

Name your fear...

When I was young, my life was unencumbered by fears. If you've been following my story for awhile, you'll recall I'm no stranger to danger. And that I faced my mortality on more than one occasion. But I became fascinated by fear in 1980. Not just fear, but panic inducing, pulse quickening, fight or flight, PHOBIA.
I was stationed is Sunny San Diego, for advanced electronics school and a specialized fire-control computer school. And I took a part time job at the then named "San Diego, Jack Murphy Stadium." As a tried and true, bleeding Carolina Blue, Tarheel. We had no pro sports franchises back then, and were free to pick from any in America to root for. My favorites were The Lakers, The Cowboys, and anyone playing against The Yankees.
But ever since being stationed in San Diego. First in 1973. I have been a die hard Chargers fan. And during my second job, as a Parking Lot Security Patrolman, I was allowed to go watch the game after the first quarter ended.
This particular game was against the Oakland Raiders. A team that still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. And by the third quarter it was a sure thing that my Chargers were going to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory once more. Back in those days, the Chargers had the most powerful offense Pro Football had ever seen. But our defense couldn't stop an old lady from crossing the street. Despite 55,000 rabid fans screaming "Raiders Suck! Raiders Suck!" at the top of their voices. I couldn't watch my team fold like a cheap politician again. So I headed for the parking lot. Plus being on a motorcycle with 20,000 cars filled with half drunk, pissed off SoCal drivers was against all sound reason.
I was half way to my bike when I heard footsteps running towards me. I wheeled around to face the charge. And headed straight for me was a beautiful young woman. I was 28, unattached emotionally and quite used to pretty women throwing themselves at me. But this one was coming really fast. All I needed to do, was to twist at the hips and she would pass as harmlessly as a warm breeze. But she would probably go face first into the asphalt. While that may have been good for a laugh, I didn't have the heart for it. And if she was an enraged, drunk fan, it could end badly for my job. So I braced for impact and absorbed the charge by stepping back and catching her in a bear hug. She reached around my waist with both arms inside my unzipped leather jacket and panted into my ear "Help me!"
I went into fight mode and began to survey the surroundings for the danger from which she was fleeing. My spidy sense was not tingling, and I saw no one within 20 yards of us. I tried to push her back a little so I could look at her eyes and ask her "What's this about?" I must have been in one of those magnetic flux zones. Or my magnetic personality was set on stun. Because I couldn't push her away without hurting her. She had her head buried in my chest and she kept chanting "Help me!" between deep gasps for breath.
My mother told me there would be women like this.
She told me: "If a woman ever hugs you really close. And she begins to breathe really deeply. And her heart begins to race. And she feels really warm in your arms. Getaway Quick. She has Typhoid!"
Well I didn't think she had typhoid. But something was bugging this lady. And she wouldn't budge. So I tangled the fingers of my right hand into the hair on the back of her head. And slowly, yet firmly pulled her head back so she was looking up into my face. Her eyes were filled with terror. And they were locked on to mine like lasers.
What's the problem lady?" I asked her. She was trembling like a blind nudist at a weenie roast. After several long moments to catch her breath, she finally stammered. "I have Agoraphobia."
My immediate thoughts were Dang California Hippies! and I asked her "How many did you take?"
She smiled and asked "Where are you from? I really like your accent."
I said "Lady! You're all over me like a drunk prom date. And NOW! you want an introduction? What the hell  is agrafoba?"
"Agoraphobia." she corrected. "It's a fear of open spaces. I thought if I was with my friends at the game I'd be OK. But I felt that place sucking my soul away. I came out here to sit in the car. But when I got to the car, it was locked. And you looked safe. So I came over to you."
I have been called many things to my face. But SAFE! was never one of them. And she was still wrapped around me like that prom queen I mentioned earlier. I asked her if she was married. I didn't need this to turn into a domestic disturbance. She told me she was not. And the death lock around my waist tightened ever so slightly. OK. She has a mental disorder and is clutching me like a pro-wrestler. There has to be an escape move in here somewhere. And even though she was very easy on the eyes and it felt nice to be in her arms. And the smell of Gauloise by Molyneux perfume was swirling around her. I couldn't just stand there forever. So I asked her what she wanted me to do.
She asked me to drive her to the 7-11 down the road.
"Are you sure you don't want me to take you back to your friends?"
Her cobra clutch was now a serious strangle hold around my midsection.
"NO!" she yelped!
The terror was back. And almost at the crescendo it started with  I explained that I was riding a motorbike and that I wasn't sure she would be able to take that kind of ride. She begged me to not leave her. So I agreed to walk with her to the 7-11 and let her call for a ride and wait with her until it came. So we marched the 1/4 mile to the store, like a couple of twins joined at the hip. I put her into a cab when it came.Tossed the driver a Twenty and watched her leave me in wide eyed wonder and amazement.
And later that weekend in the local library I began my scientific study of Phobias. Not your garden variety fear of heights or scared of the dark. But life changing, crippling phobia. I have witnessed my types of phobics. People who are terrified by mundane things. Things like Clowns, Dolls, Puppets, closets, dogs snakes, spiders, bridges, escalators, butterflies and grasshoppers. So tell me what thing or things puts fear in your heart. I've seen them all. Well, actually I've never met a real live Homophobic! But I hear they are everywhere.


Ms. Anthropy said...

I wouldn't know where to begin! Anxiety is a great crippler, to many of us.

MsDarkstar said...

I've got Scoleciphobia - fear of maggots. If I come across them, it takes me DAYS to be ok again.

I also have panic attacks, mostly in grocery stores but haven't figured out the trigger yet.

Dutch donut girl said...

Fear of becoming sick and dying.

Bees. Have you ever seen someone LAUGHING and HAPPY while being chased by bees?
Yeah, didn’t think so.

The next Eddie Murphy/Disney collaboration.

Ghosts, murderers, lunatics & cows.


And roaches.

Blasé said...

"When you were young" could be 'gay' in California and your woman would like that about you.

My 'greatest fear'?? Probably me driving Double D by a Cow pasture somewhere here in North Carolina on the eastward side.

Anonymous said...

Panic attacks. They make no sense and come without warning in the oddest of places.

SusanD said...

I didn't know you are a fellow Tarheel. :) Fears? Yeah....who doesn't have some. Phobia? Naw. Thanks for sharing. Blessings, SusanD

Middle Aged Woman Blogging said...

I was petrified of dentists. I hated having cotton stuffed in my mouth for fear I would choke. I had a dream about a year ago that I was sitting in a dental chair and all was well. I was completely relaxed. Poof! Next time I was at the dentist, I practically fell asleep. Crazy huh?

I also have agoraphobia. I didn't leave my home for 6 months once and to this day, I often have panic attacks. I recognize them now and can usually breathe my way out of them.

I have also found that the older I get, the more I like staying on the ground. I was standing on an uncovered patio in a high rise in Chicago last summer and all of the sudden I felt the dire need to return to the inside of the condo. AAAH!

Gillian said...

My youngest daughter has Brontophobia but I've never been one to have a phobia.

I have Eremophobia

NicNacManiac said...

Great hubby is the biggest Chargers fan as well, I actually purchased directly from the Chargers Organization for jackets and such many years ago before you could get Chargers stuff in a retail environment as they were not one of the well known teams.
Why is it that the recurring theme in all of your adventures is beautiful women just dropping out of the sky...I guess you ARE the babe magnet that I always thought you were!!
Peace & Love Handsome, xOxO Nerina

2Thinks said...

First, a question. Is this is a true story?

Kelly Combs said...

I don't have any phobias. I jokingly call myself a germaphobe, but it doesn't keep me from eating out, or using a public restroom, so I think I'm pretty normal. :-)

Becki Jacket said...

I'm afraid of pregnant women.
And school. The very thought of school gives me anxiety.
I'm afraid of crossing the street.
And i'm afraid of death.

Juliana said...

I am taking an anxiety class right now. My brother killed himself in April so I am very scared of dying. Anxiety can rock you to the core. I have a lot of health problems so I get anxious a lot, but I am working on it. I really enjoyed reading your blog here and I appreciate your comments.

I actually thought about the diamond comment before I posted it....because although I love mine--everyone has a diamond and to be one that would be conforming and that is NOT me. Anyhow---have a nice evening!

2Thinks said...

Okay. Thanks for telling me the truth. Once again, you've inspired me to post one I've been thinking about for a long time. It's not the one I put up today. You'll know it when you see it, it's about my fears.

Kimberly said...