In addition to my Stairs Phobia, I also have a Mugging Phobia. I have always worked in what could be considered “unsafe” urban areas. Therefore, before I head to my car in the evening it is habit for me to twist the rings on my fingers inside out so the stones don’t show, shove valuables in my pocket and always, ALWAYS carry a long umbrella with a pointy end. Unfortunately, the “witnessing cops chase down purse snatchers” episode from last Friday did nothing to alleviate my paranoia. But don’t get me wrong, this fear is not limited to urban areas – I am well aware that things happen in the suburbs as well. Oh yes, I do walk to my car in my local Target parking lot with keys firmly gripped in hand, furtively looking for suspicious folks. I am extremely careful using an ATM ANYWHERE these days. Even further, I am particularly watchful at an area “upper crust” mall that I go to when forced to shop.
The interesting thing is that these two particular phobias run directly counter to some of the things I love to do most. I LOVE to climb to high places. I eagerly climbed the 320 steps to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Damn straight, climbing up and then back down a spiral staircase with only a rope hung down the center for a handrail was freaking scary, but it was SO worth the spectacular view and is something I will forever treasure. I also LOVE to explore different urban areas of Kansas City despite the scary nature of the some of those areas. Let’s face it – that’s where the coolest neighborhoods, bars and restaurants are located. Furthermore, I fully intend to take the little Freeloader to all my favorite haunts (okay, maybe NOT the bars) and I will have to endure my grandma completely freaking out every time I do so. However, I don’t want to raise a little ninny, right? I want the kid to have an adventuresome spirit and sometimes that includes facing a little perceived danger, I guess. They do make pointy umbrellas for babies, don’t they?