I’ve never been skydiving. Or bungee jumping. While researching family vacations, I’ve noticed that some resorts offer trapeze lessons. I have no desire to try these things. This should come as no surprise to people who know me and know that I have a fear of heights and get queasy whenever my children ask if they can go on the Hulk the next time we go to Universal. I will not be riding the Hulk. And I will puke if I have to watch my children riding the Hulk. I don’t understand thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. Isn’t life scary enough?
I’m not speaking of the tragedies that might befall us or the less tragic but still sad times that we all have to suffer through. I mean just everyday life. Some of the terrifying experiences I’ve survived recently:
1. No need for The Hunger Games. Just try to pull out of your parking spot at Publix. To the woman who almost crashed into my car this morning, I say this: I know you want to feel the wind blowing through your hair and see people gasp and point while you thunder by like a Chincoteague. Sometimes I ache for this experience too. But driving 60 mph in your mom car through the parking lot of the neighborhood grocery store isn’t really the place or time for these sort of fantasies. (This also applies to the parking lots of Dunkin Donuts, Panera, the nail salon, and other places that thrill-deprived women seem to enjoy peeling out of in their Odysseys and Prii – Priuses doesn’t sound right; does it sound right to you?) I know men drive like winners too but my encounters of late have been with women, okay?
2. Want to hear the Jaws soundtrack in your head? Just go on the husband laundry safari ride. No fast pass required! Watch husband “forget” to sort. Observe him transfer all the towels from the towel hamper into the washing machine and then dump all your boys’ dirty clothes in there with them. Notice that he has not pre-treated stains. Had enough? Run screaming when the towels and the clothes go into the dryer . . . together!!! If you don’t take cover, you might have to watch him try to fix something (Ahhhhhhh!!!!!!!)
3. Change is scary! Even the kind nobody else knows about but you. Any woman who has ventured out into red lipstick land can attest to this. “But I’ll look like a clown!! People with a clown phobia will be traumatized by the very sight of me!!” Just comfort yourself with the memory of that time you cut ten inches off your hair and your husband took one look at you and asked, “What’s for dinner?”
4. There is no longer one way to do long division. There are five ways. You don’t know any of them. Showing your work no longer involves, well, showing your work. Now, you must diagram and write explanatory essays. Well, not you. Your child. But your child will ask you for guidance. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and don’t be a baby. It’ll be over before you know it. (This is what people tell me about roller coasters.)
And something I haven’t experienced recently but that is always looming like another season of American Idol.
5. Public speaking. I am a lawyer. I have been to court many times, and I have selected juries and made closing arguments in serious cases. For some reason, these experiences did not faze me much. I would like to say it was because I was so caught up in the ultimate goal – representing my client and doing the best I could to make sure there was not a miscarriage of justice. But it probably had to do more with the fact that I’d never see the jurors or courtroom spectators again. However, the thought of speaking to a group of people I know? That I see on a regular basis? Terrifying!! My boys’ bar mitzvah is coming up in two years and the parents are expected to give a speech. Smelling salts and a defibrillator will be on standby.
In the meantime, I’m staying the hell away from roller coasters and bungee cords. If I want to hear my heart beating in my mouth, I’ll just try to make pie crust, pick a paint color, or purchase a major appliance or some such. Don’t lie! You know those things scare you too!!