I have always been made fun of for my phobias. I will eventually get into the more character-revealing ones, but for now, let’s delve into the standard fare–rodents and birds. At least I think they’re standard, anyway.
Like many fears, I’m pretty sure that my rodent-induced terror stems from a few incidents in my childhood, including:
- At one point, a family of squirrels nested in our chimney. Occasionally, one would get drunk and fall down the chimney. Totally psyched to be alive, it would then wander freely about our house. Sometimes when I was home alone. I would also sometimes mistake it for our cat before realizing that we don’t have a cat.
- I once jumped off a swing and landed in a dead mouse.
- I watched my friend (accidentally) brutally murder her gerbil. I mean BRUTALLY. This is actually a pretty good story, and I might tell it at another time. IF YOU’RE LUCKY.
So now I’m terrified of everything rodent, from the noble rat king (for the love of the flying spaghetti monster, don’t google that term) to the cute widdle bunny. Give me a plague of locusts and frogs–just don’t let a mouse ANYWHERE NEAR ME. Also, your friendly little pet hamster qualifies as a mouse. This fear controls me: I’m afraid of my hair moving near the corner of my eye, in case that brown blur is actually a mouse. I’m afraid of looking at anything other than the television in a dark room…in case they’re LURKING.
Of course, this naturally means that mice (plural, people, PLURAL. There’s NEVER just one) have found ways into our home throughout the years. Once we found a mouse in our house and I spent days–DAYS–hiding upstairs, only occasionally running downstairs to grab a box of cereal or Cheeze-Its (I was unemployed and living at home at the time–go figure).
My family, who are a bunch of normal people in that they don’t ENJOY vermin, but they also don’t allow it to dictate their lives, thought my behavior was a little out there.
“Lisa,” my dad reasoned, “They’re not going to bother you. Especially during the day…and I think I got them all.”
No matter. All I could do was imagine the little creatures with their weird little feet and twitchy, watery noses crawling all over me.
So whenever I DID come downstairs, my entrance was accompanied by me whooping like a mental patient–you know, to scare them into hiding. This crazy-person mouse-repellent method served me well; I could occasionally go downstairs and leave the house to buy more sustenance. This method has–more or less–served me well throughout the years.
I don’t really have much to say on birds, except I distrust their reptilian heads (even though I like reptiles). And their little feet. Also, how they poop from the air. And many of them seem to be losing their fear of humans. I fear the pecking order (heh) is changing for the worse.
I barely ever have dreams that I remember, but I do remember one that I had in college. There was no narrative to it; it was just me trapped in my apartment with a pigeon flying around. I woke up with one of the cinematic gasps and dripping in a cold sweat. I probably then laid in the fetal position for a while. I dont know; I don’t remember that part.
I think the bird one is genetic though. My sister came to visit me in Los Angeles and we were walking along Venice Beach. We eventually came across a flock of baby seagulls running in and out of the water–perhaps a cute sight to a normal person. We stopped dead in our tracks.
“Lisa, are those seagulls?”
“Baby ones, yeah.”
And I never felt closer to her.