2016-08-17 / Loose Ends

Ordinary Fears

Susan Nienow

Everyone has fears: mice, spiders, heights – the list goes on. I think most mice are cute as long as they don’t startle me. I don’t mind spiders unless they are black or they surprise me.

Heights can surprise me. I was touring an old house on a cliff in a country that had never heard of the law against surprising tourists. I stepped out of an enclosed stairway onto the roof and there was no railing anywhere and no barrier on the one side to keep people from walking off the roof down the face of the cliff to the beach below. That was my first introduction to a panic attack.

But most of my fears are the everyday variety. I must have a fear of running out of pens because I usually have between three and five pens in my purse, one in the console in the car and one in the glove compartment, one in the bottom of each of the tote bags I use regularly, and a good assortment on and in my desk.

When the school supplies go on sale at the end of the summer, I stock up again. I’m not sure how many are in the supply drawer. I never check before I buy more because they might be old with dried-up ink. This goes against everything my other half stands for, but since I like the cheap pens, he looks the other way.

I tried passing on my love for pens to my kids by giving them the big box-store pack in their stockings each year. I did this for about 10 years, even after they moved out of the house. They eventually yelled “uncle” and threatened to change their addresses and not tell me if I sent any more.

Then there are socks. I like socks. I wear them all winter and when I wear tennis shoes and gardening shoes in the summer. My other half has yard-work socks (brown so the grass and red clay stains don’t show), golf socks, dress socks and everyday socks. I think he has more than I do but would never admit it.

We keep stocked up because of a very basic fear of running out of our favorite socks whether it is clean socks or socks, period. That would require an emergency trip to the store, and they might not have the kind we need.

Most people share the fear of losing cellphones or dropping them in the – well, you know. Losing my cellphone would be almost as bad as losing my purse. I don’t carry much cash and my credit cards aren’t very exciting, though someone once stole our number and PIN and had a nice $7,000 stay in a bed-and-breakfast in Portugal. Unfortunately, it wasn’t us. I’m sure the B&B was sorry they didn’t check the card. The computer knew we weren’t in Portugal.

My other half’s biggest fear is not having the right tool. Mine is running out of beads. Where are the support groups?

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