Tag Archives: phobia

This one’s all over the place because I wrote it during turbulence.

16 Aug

[This was written on my way to Australia, but I’m just getting around to posting it. More on Australia itself soon.]

I’m not a fan of flying. I’m always about 50% convinced I’ll end up on the wrong side of the statistics. I know, I know. You’re going to tell me that flying is safer than driving a car, and that the odds of being in a plane that crashes are almost as great as winning the MegaBucks Lottery.

Thanks, Mr. Statistician. I’d like to tell you a few reasons I’m convinced the normal laws of probability don’t apply to me.

First: I got hit by a car earlier this year. (You’re probably tired of hearing about it, but you try hitting someone’s windshield and flying off their roof and tell me if you don’t feel compelled to work it into conversation occasionally.)

I’d wager that the odds of getting hit by a car are pretty slim. And surviving it with only a concussion and bruising? Even slimmer. Which is to say: I don’t mistake probabilities for assurance.

And then there’s the time when I was in sixth grade and our family vacationed at Jeckyll Island, Georgia. My dad and I were out in the waves, swimming, and I kept grabbing onto him because I wouldn’t let my feet touch the bottom. A clingy kid isn’t a ton of fun, so it’s no surprise that he started to give me a somewhat stern lecture.

“Babe, you really need to stop grabbing onto me. Just put your feet on the bottom. It’s sandy. There’s nothing here that – ARRRGH!”

His lecture was cut short as he hollered, scowled and began jumping up and down. When he finally lifted his foot above the water line, there was a large crab claw pinching his heel. The body was gone (apparently it had been shaken off) but the claw hung there, precisely summarizing why I wouldn’t touch bottom.

Continue reading

When ignorance really is bliss.

3 Aug

Whenever I travel, I try to read a book set where I’m visiting. Usually I lean toward a novel and supplement it with guided walking tours so I can get a blend of fact and fiction. In preparation for my upcoming trip to Australia, I picked up something I read years ago, a non-fiction travelogue by Bill Bryson called In a Sunburned Country.

I remembered enjoying it (from the comfort of my couch in DC), so I thought it would be a nice primer.


Oh sure, it’s as funny and educational and telling as I remember. The problem? Bryson is fixated on takes great joy in regaling readers with tales of all the dangerous/poisonous creatures that inhabit the land Down Under. As someone who is a bit of an arachnophobe, this is NOT helpful.

(Separately, what does it mean that I’ve managed to weave phobias into EVERY post this week? I’m scaring myself. Is that a phobia too?)

Continue reading

I didn’t realize WebMD was a humor site.

1 Aug

I’m really not good at being sick. In part it’s because I’m always operating off a mental schedule that leaves no room for inefficiency or incapacitation.

Take yesterday morning. I love my Sundays — I typically get up early and clean, then walk to the farmer’s market and load up on produce. I’ll hit a few yoga classes, walk to the library, run some errands, cook meals for the week and have an awesome sense of accomplishment when evening rolls around.

Instead, I woke up at 6am with a raspy sore throat and headache. I tried to rally but ended up spending most of the day in bed, hoping that the rest would force this bug to leave my system. At some point I started to feel sorry for myself (probably when I realized I’d missed the last option for yoga) so I went to WebMD to diagnose myself.

I know, you’re not supposed to practice “internet medicine” because you’ll end up believing you have a rare disease with only two weeks to live. But really, I was just trying to remember if the adage was “starve a cold” or “feed a cold” because I couldn’t decide if it was wise to inhale the pepperoni pizza in my freezer. Don’t ask why I thought WebMD would offer Mother Goose-like guidance; clearly I was sick and not thinking clearly.

Anyway, WebMD has this application called “Symptom Checker” where you can select the symptoms you’re experiencing and it will whittle down a list of possible conditions you may have. When I saw the options of symptoms, I quickly abandoned my own diagnosis and started trying to construct the oddest line-up of issues I could imagine, just to see if I could stump the system.

Here’s what I came up with:

Continue reading