foods that frighten me:
- deli sandwiches
- hardboiled eggs
- milk past the "sell by" date
people that petrify me:
- tall men who weigh twice as much as i do
- people expressing uncontrolled anger in public
- someone who is clearly angry, but is talking to me in a whisper
creeping things that creep me out:
- rattle snakes
scenarios that scare me:
- just before a guy kisses me
- one-on-one conversation with an acquaintance
- someone grabbing my foot unexpectedly
while my fears are not always directly proportionate to the actual danger, i feel confident that most of them have a logical foundation. a few foul sandwiches in the adolescent lunchbox would result in a level of trepidation for most people. my first - and realistically accurate - assessment of a large man is that he could kill me.
i also value fear-facing. that is, i require myself to eat a deli sandwich every now and again. and from time to time i fraternize with tall men of large stature. by self-imposed exposure therapy, my fears diminish. but one fear hovers over me more than all the others. and, unlike most of my fears, it appears to grow with time.
MY FEAR OF UNEXPECTED FOOT-GRABBING
First Problem: Unavoidable in Daily Activities
Walking down slotted stairs or over a low bridge? High-risk zone. Getting in and out of the car? High-risk zone. Walking net to the water drains where city roads meet the sidewalk? Very high-risk zone.
Second Problem: Some Merit in the Fear
Feet are a critical component of escape tactics. They are a quick way to throw off-balance and disorient a person. They are a wide open target. Near the ground, a solid three feet or more away from victims nails, teeth, or other build-in weapons. A person or creature can swiftly attack the foot without exposing vulnerable parts such as face or ribcage to retaliation.
Third Problem: Lack of "Fear-Facing" Activities
How exactly do I face this fear? Wait to be attacked, then test out my imagined escape tactics? Considering I've skated through life relatively scratch-free in this department, I'm not anxious to tempt fate. I've tried learning basic self-defence techniques for a woman of my size, but there are not many civilian sessions dedicated to below-the-knee assaults. Believe me, I've looked.
So it is that I continue my happy feet dance getting in and out of the car, keep my distance from water drains and bushes, and move quickly over bridges and up/down slotted staircases. And of course, I've rehearsed in my mind every ninja move I know in case someone IS after my feet.
I Wrote a Column for Outside and They Published It on the Internet! - I'm currently waiting to board a cross-country New York-bound germ tube as I type this, but my latest column ponders the question all thinking cyclists* ha...