Tuesday, July 12, 2011

the only thing to fear

... is not fear itself.

I'm afraid - no pun intended! - that President Roosevelt had it wrong. There's plenty to fear. Sure, much of it is irrational, but it's still out there.

For me, it's getting into a car accident. There is, of course, the very real possibility that this would happen, but I realize the probability is low. However, it still gets to me.

This fear manifests itself in 2ways:

1. The brakes of a car I am driving will fail. Mostly, I'm afraid that I won't be able to stop quickly enough when I have to. I think this came from a combination of getting into a fender-bender a few years ago (my fault, whoops) and having old, crappy brakes on my old car (unrelated to the accident). Or maybe it has developed more recently and has to do with poor driving conditions (e.g., SNOW in MAINE) and the need to be more cautious, which has somehow transferred to all driving. Whatever the cause, I now begin to slow down much earlier than necessary. Just to be safe.

2. I'll get into an accident when someone else is driving a car I'm in. I don't trust other drivers. For whatever reason (really, I can't even begin to figure this one out), I get slightly anxious and think that they are reckless and that we're going crash. I even felt this way with my parents driving. The same parents who I trust almost implicitly and have been driving me around my whole life without a single accident. Ugh, so irrational. I hated it and the way I would feel. Luckily, it didn't seem to last too long. A year, maybe? I was completely over it. I'd been successfully driven multiple places, by multiple drivers and didn't feel anxious at all. Or so I thought. This past Sunday night I was in a car with friends and felt a bit anxious again so I started to deconstruct what was different about this situation from previous trips (with this very same driver, even!). I could only come up with that it was the combination of a) sitting in the back while b) traveling on a highway. Okay, so we can be going at top speeds if I'm sitting in the front OR if I'm sitting in the back we'll have to stick to local roads. Got it? Damn, I'm ridiculous.

So there it is. The 2manifestations of my irrational fear. Neither are intense nor crippling. I still drive (if not just a bit more carefully) and I still get in others' cars (I don't get that anxious), but the fears still cross my mind. So ridiculous.

What about you?


  1. Now I know why you gasp and brace yourself whenever I'm driving! It's all in your head and not in my driving--what a relief!

    It's interesting to hear that you have become more cautious behind the wheel--I always thought you were a bit too cavalier about the process.

  2. Break-ins by the Russian mafia. Like you said - irrational, but still there!