Saturday, May 17, 2008

In which I fear heights

A very long escalator in the Washington Metro. This is the main escalator going from the platform to tickets/fare at the Bethesda Station in Bethesda, Maryland.Image via Wikipedia

I am afraid of heights. Now, it's not a true phobia -- I get by just fine in my daily life with only minor adjustments. For instance, I prefer elevators or stairs to escalators. This isn't cold sweats at the mere though of a snake, here.

But words cannot express the haaaaaaate I felt once at the prospect of climbing up on my windowsill, reaching out my window, and grabbing said window in major gusts of wind to shut it. Now, let me break this down for you.

I don't like standing on windowsills to start. I'm convinced I'll fall. I'm clumsy, so that's a practical concern. But that's how I know it's not a true phobia -- I do it when I have to.

Secondly, I don't like reaching out of windows. On the first floor, it feels silly, like some passerby will see me and make fun of me. On the second floor, I have images of popping the screen out and impaling myself on the neighbor's fence. On the 11th floor... it's unpleasant. Really, really, insanely unpleasant.

And finally, wind. Wind is flattering to heights. Makes them seem higher. Makes the clumsy not-quote-acrophobe all the more certain that she's about to fall to her death.

So there I was, sticking my whole arm and part of my head out my 11th-story window, into fierce wind, trying to grab the window as it flutters merrily in the breeze, while my stocking-feet tried to find traction on my glossy-painted windowsill.

Let me assure you right now, that even if my life were to spiral out of control and I were to lose the will to live, I will *never* jump off a building or bridge. Hell, the idea might be enough to encourage me to live.

The good

You know, I really don't let it stop me. In fact, I love roller coasters. I've always liked bridges. No, I'm not a fan of escalators, but it's healthier to take the stairs anyway.


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