Thursday, November 19, 2009

irrational fears of foxes and ladders

In fourth grade, my teacher shared with the class that as a young girl, she had been terrified that a fox dwelled under her bed and lurked there in the dark, waiting to snap its teeth at her toes when she got into bed. She was, of course, telling us this to highlight the irrationality of this fear. But my 10-year-old mind couldn't shake the possibility that this was true, and so for the next year or so, I took a grand flying leap into bed every night.

Around that time, I was also terrified of mirrors in the dark. My friends loved to go in the bathroom, turn off the lights, and chant creepy songs in front of the mirror. I became convinced that Bloody Mary (and no, I wasn’t aware of the grimy history of King Henry VIII. I thought we were talking about Jesus’ mommy. No wonder I was disturbed) lived inside and was about to murder us or suck our souls out or something. This fear transferred to mirrors in my home, and at night, I would dart past the one in the hallway and cover up my bedroom mirror with a t-shirt before going to bed.

I’ve been thinking about this lately because a new irrational fear has been dominating my thoughts. My current sleeping situation involves a 9-foot high loft bed. Every night since August, I’ve climbed up the sturdy wooden ladder to go to sleep. And I’ve been just fine. But recently, I re-watched a YouTube video that I saw last fall…



Suddenly, I’ve become terrified that as I’m climbing up the ladder, my feet will slip between the wooden rungs, I’ll fall backwards, and my leg will snap in the middle of my shin. I almost think I’m worse off with this fear. It makes me nervous as I climb up the ladder, and my feet feel even closer to slipping off.

Sometimes irrationality is relative. Sometimes it’s absolute. Maybe my fourth grade teacher had legitimate reason to believe a fox was waiting under her bed to gnash at her toes. I probably did not. I could be wrong here, but I’d say it’s irrational for everyone to believe that evil spirits live inside of mirrors. Thankfully, my fear of the fox died out a while ago; although to be honest, I still hate mirrors at night. Additionally, I’m afraid of seagulls and spiders, and I hate driving over bridges. Like we decided at CTG a few weeks ago, every girl is afraid of “the man with a gun”…and I can’t even think about the expanse of the ocean without shuddering.

Unfortunately, the ladder thing might be kinda rational. I could break my leg as I cimb up to bed…there’s not a lot I can do about this fear. I think I’ll just be reaaaally happy when I don’t have to sleep 9 feet off the ground anymore.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

the panda says NO!

Have you ever read Eats, Shoots, and Leaves?

If you have, did you find it hilarious and wildly entertaining?

If the answer to either of those questions is no, you might not enjoy this post. Just a warning.

So, I just logged onto Facebook and, upon surveying the new and significantly creepier "Live News Feed", saw that a friend had joined a group called "Real Men Don't Lie To, Cheat On, or Abuse Woman." I imagined someone making this statement in a very adamant caveman-like voice and giggled...and then realized I was laughing at group for domestic abuse.

But seriously. This wouldn't necessarily be a group I'd join anyway, but if nothing else, I would refuse to join it because of the yucky grammar mistake. Grammar snob? I guess. Yup.

On a sidewalk in East Lansing, there's a silver electrical box that sports some very irritating graffiti. "Working hard or hadly working?" it asks. Now, author of this message: Were you perhaps going for a Boston accent? Fail. Pick a dialect! Either put an "r" into "hardly", or take the "r" out of "hard." I'm sorry, but you cannot have both. Watch out, electrical box. Someday my Sharpie and I will get you.

Last week, my resident mentor put up some cheery Halloween signs in our hallway. Nice glittery exclamations of "BOO!" and "HAPPY HALLOWEEN!" dotted our walls. And then there was one that said, "Quiditch anyone?" Mmm. Oh dear. I felt very disgruntled. I got out a marker and squeezed an extra "d" in there, and went back later to add the appropriate comma. "Quidditch, anyone?" Much better.

If I was a superhero, I bet my superpower (unfortunately, sadly, but truthfully) would have something to do with grammar. I felt like I was righting some massive injustice in the world with that Sharpie and my grammar knowledge.

But seriously, as I was writing this, I thought to myself, "Congratulations. You are CRAZY. Please just stop caring about this stuff! Please?" Without doubt, getting upset over the misspelling of Quidditch and being angry at electrical boxes points to some level of eccentricity. It's taken me a while to realize that I care about grammar in disgusting excess, and anger over misplaced commas just isn't prime conversation for most people. In an attempt at pleasantry, I'm learning to refrain from grumbling when I notice mistakes on fliers, menus, and street signs. And I just realized that there's a good chance that me correcting that sign made my RA feel bad. Eeeek.

But even if I learn to control my words with this one, I'll absolutely still be a stickler at heart. It's important sometimes, I swear! Life or death, even. I'll leave you with the example from the back cover of Eats, Shoots, and Leaves. (Which you should pick up, by the way, if you can at all relate to my grammar-snobbery.)

A panda walks into a café. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air.

"Why?" asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly-punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.

"I'm a panda," he says at the door. "Look it up."

The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation.

"Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots, and leaves."