Carnivals are supposed to be fun, clowns funny, animals cute, roller coasters thrilling, but sometimes, for whatever reason, we have irrational fears of things that, by normal standards, are not considered scary. After writing our carnival stories this week, we asked the Confabulators what seemingly normal thing creeps us out.
Carnivals and circuses freak me out. Even state carnivals, which are fairly normal, just give me a weird feel of heebie-jeebies. When I was living in England — six or seven, I guess — we went to a circus. I don’t recall a lot about the circus itself, other than there was a tent; my sister and I got spinning plates on sticks. Nothing bad happened, but I still get weirdly uncomfortable when I see one.
I have a number of things I’m afraid of, but probably one of my strangest fears is my terror of boats. I’m not afraid of drowning. I’d be perfectly okay if somebody threw me off the boat into the water. Well, maybe not okay, but I’d at least stop panicking. It’s not a fear I can explain and I’m not quite sure when it started, but what I can tell you is that it’s ruined any number of family vacations.
Ice cream trucks. Dear God. Some unknown stranger is driving around in a panel van with music playing, trying to draw kids to him like some automotive pied piper so he can give them food that he’s been keeping in his van for just such an occasion. I’m a paranoid person by nature, but my skin crawls every time I hear those bells playing “All Around the Mulberry Bush.” Pedophiles, poisoned or tainted treats, kidnappers, mass-murdering cannibals…take your pick of possibilities.
When people swing crookedly. I know some kids get a kick out of swinging sideways or twisting up their chains and spinning around, but for some reason I get sweaty and nervous and sick when I don’t swing perfectly straight or someone next to me is swerving sideways or I’m pushing the kid crookedly. Serious panic. Maybe the strangest innate fear ever.
Spiders. I’m not the kind to scream whenever they’re on the television. But when they suddenly appear next to me (either dangling on a web or running across the table) I will seriously freak out! And if there are a lot of them crawling over someone in a movie, that makes me spaz out. Yet, I’m the appointed spider-killer in the house. No one else will touch them. Ironic, no?