who the heck knows anything, anyway

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Aviophobia, Thalassophobia

Trying to evaluate fear, and why certain things are scary to a person while others aren't.

For me, it's not a fear of death, I know that much. I was on a boat this week--a small ferry heading to the Aran Islands--and the wind was nasty, and the waves were huge, and the boat was alternately flying through and crashing into the water, and everyone directly around me was either silent or vomiting (or, in the case of one poor little girl who was not pleased with her parents' choice of adventure, screaming and weeping), but I wasn't that afraid. Got a little queezy around minute 40 of rolling side-to-side, but I was still in a peachy mood after we got off the boat. When we first started pitching, it felt wild, just like the drop in a roller coaster, my stomach still floating at Point A while my body had relocated to Point B. But then I began to evaluate the situation: why wasn't I scared? People around me were freaking out. The crew wasn't, but I doubt I would have been able to tell if they were; they were all stoic, burly men who are on the ocean every day about eight times a day.

But if I had been in a plane, and there was even a little turbulence, I would have been flipping my hat. I would have been flipping my hat so hard. As I was sitting there, in this small ferry, I imagined the boat tipping over. I imagined how useless a life-vest would be if we capsized, because we'd be trapped; how, even if getting out of the glass case of a boat was possible, we were far enough out at a very choppy sea that we couldn't see land, and the water was freezing. I wondered how quickly I would be able to take my coat off. I wondered if I--being a strong swimmer--could make it to one island or another, assuming I could get out of the boat. I wondered how I would find Daniel, and if he would make it, and if I could help him, or if I should fend for myself. And none of these things bothered me much. Rather, none of them triggered an anxiety response that made my body feel as though these scenarios were even possible. But the idea of falling out of a plane, or of exploding in one, absolutely terrifies me. I wasn't like that as a kid. It happened some time in my early twenties.

I suppose that's the nature of a phobia. It doesn't make sense. Or maybe my lack of fear in regards to the ocean is the foolish thing. Who knows.

Speaking of fear--I am totes afraid of Ouija boards, but I really want to use one, but I don't believe in them, but I maybe do? Because superstition is my family's primary religion.