I am Afraid of the Cork!

Day Two: Three legitimate fears and how I got them

1. Bridges – I avoid bridges as much as I possibly can. I plan my routes around bridges. Living in San Diego, this most especially includes the Coronado Bridge. Yes, I have been known to get heart palpitations, sweaty palms and anxiety with the mere thought of having to ascend over that…that…thing. I have been known to go all the way south (almost to the Mexican border) to use what is called “The Strand” in order to get to Coronado and back. I admit it!

When I was a young child, I used to have a multitude of dreams about bridges. In some of my dreams I was hanging onto a bridge upside down while a family member braided my hair. I was fiercely trying not to fall in, where sharks swam below me. Ironic, since I love sharks and I have been swimming with them for years. I would have other dreams that my family and I would be on a bridge that kept going up. There was no descent. It just kept going and going…

When I was a teenager, I unfortunately watched news footage of the Oakland Bay Bridge collapse in 1989. Seven years later, the 35W bridge collapsed in Minnesota and I happened to see the photos on the front page of my local newspaper.

As an adult I moved to the Tampa Bay area, home of the longest concrete bridge in the Western Hemisphere – the Sunshine Skyway. It happens to be a beautiful bridge, but also dangerous in high winds. A ship hit the bridge in 1980 and several people perished. I was always scared to drive across it. Then while driving home to a suburb of Tampa, I witnessed a sink hole swallow a portion of the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway Bridge.

Perhaps these are all freakish coincidences, but no harm in not risking things, right?

2. Clowns – I have three words for you: John Wayne Gacy. Honestly. What ARE clowns hiding under ALL that make-up? I have often been asked if this coulrophobia of mine stems from Poltergeist or It, but alas my fear began before I even knew who Tobe Hooper and Stephen King were!

The beginning of this fear is hard to pinpoint, but I do have a heebie jeebie memory: I was in Kindergarten and my uncle dated a girl in high school whose father was a member of the Shriners (I think – he wore a red fez pretty often). They would take us to the circus and we would get behind the scenes tours. One of the clowns, Cookie, was hiding behind a tent. He turned and looked at me with his finger over his lips as if to motion, “Shhhh…” and that is all I remember. Maybe hypnosis would help unlock this memory.

In the meantime, clowns and me…we just don’t mix.

3. Champagne Corks – You are more likely to be killed by a champagne cork than a spider. Did you know that?? I thought I was the only person in the world who is frightened by getting her eye poked out or having the glass disintegrate into my hands once a champagne cork is popped. But alas, recently I have discovered there are friends of mine who have fear of the cork, too!

It doesn’t end with the conjured image of accessorizing with an eye-patch for the rest of my life. The popping sound also frightens the bejeezus out of me!

About ten years ago in an old flame’s kitchen I attempted to open a bottle of bubbly and instead got my skin caught between the cork and the mouth of the bottle. It took some blood and a few choice words before I was able to remove it. Very graceful! That pinch has turned into an irrational fear of the cork! I let friends or my husband handle it now. And I am A-OKAY with that! I still get to drink mimosas, after all!

Italian Blood Orange Juice and Champagne Mimosa at my fellow Relay for Life Committee Member’s T-shirt making brunch yesterday!

What about you, readers? Care to share any of YOUR fears?