The fear of fear

There is one of those flip-chart boards at Cafe Voltaire, and it usually has a question on it for guests to answer.

The current one is “What is your silliest fear?”, which got me thinking a bit about fears.

The key word to me in this question is ‘silliest’. It’s such a personal word, when you look at it.

There have been surveys done showing more people are afraid of speaking in public than dying. I would imagine a person who has always been comfortable speaking to groups might not think a fear of public speaking was silly, but he may have trouble understanding how someone could be afraid of something he finds so easy.

Similarly, a woman who has a couple of cats may find it difficult to believe people could be afraid of cats. I knew someone like that once, and she didn’t believe people should be afraid of cats.

She, herself, was quite scared of dogs, but seemed to have trouble linking those those two fears. She could understand being afraid of dogs, but not of cats, although to someone like me who had no deep fear of either, that attitude seemed a little strange.

That said, there are a lot of strange fears out there, and many of them have names. Some of them are things some of my readers may realize they have, but never knew what the term for it was. Just think though, when you get to work a bit late tomorrow and explain to the boss you would have been on time but your dromophobia was acting up again. That would mean you’re afraid of crossing the street, which in Prince George sometimes could be seen as a very healthy fear to cultivate.

I would sometimes excuse myself from work early, blaming my ergophobia. That was a fear of work, which I’m sure is something all my readers can attribute to at least a couple of people they know.

I don’t know if any of these would qualify for the board at Cafe Voltaire, because to the people who suffer from them, they don’t seem silly.

One fear I have that would definitely qualify is one I have had for some time, and will sometimes take definite steps to avoid. I have deliberately gone by a couple of parking spots at the mall and parked a little farther away, for one silly and simple reason.

The spots I passed were right by a grate in the pavement, and I am always afraid of dropping my keys through the grate.

I know it’s silly, I have no idea if it has a name (but I doubt it), but I can’t stop acting on it.