OK. So number one. I feel, OK, so I've been blessed with an extremely even temperament and a lot of sort of cognitive coping mechanisms like let's say I'm like on acid or something. And I see you know a little tiger walk up to me. Like even on acid. I'm very capable of being like: "that is a fun tiger that my brain invented and it's not real. And how interesting that your brain invented that and that's nice you know." But so my fear here is that sort of cognitive mechanism will break. Like maybe it's just really like a thin shimmering curtain keeping me from total madness. And luckily that curtain has always stayed down. But what if it was lifted one day?
Number two. Holding a baby and falling flat on my face on the sidewalk.
Number three. That I will die having wasted many opportunities to be good to the people who love me.
Number four is getting stuck in a little pod in the deep deep ocean and encountering like a giant centipede.
Number five is like ruining my hearing because I went to too many concerts. I spent so much of my teen years in my 20s like all of my 20s going to as many shows as I possibly could and standing as close to the front as I possibly could. And just like pummeling myself with sound and it felt so good and it still feels so good. But this is like a very elegant little nightmare because in wanting to create so much of this pleasure that brings me so much meaning in my life I'm ruining my ability to experience the pleasure.
Number Six. Running out of gas in the middle of nowhere and then dying of thirst.
Number seven is not a fear as much as like something that I do all the time but I'm afraid of going to places because you think climate change is going to destroy them. But by flying to those places being part of the climate change that is destroying them. Like I was watching the glaciers melt in Patagonia and thinking what a shame it was. But I had also flown halfway around the world to see this glacier and I was contributing to the warming that's making the glacier melt.
Number eight is childbirth which I have not experienced. I'm just afraid of that level of pain. I have an IUD. Like just the pain from that I was just like Oh my God. Like I was you know my vision was sparkling with sweat and I was like you know my body was just like No no no. But at the same time I resent this fear because it's like I want to have a baby eventually. So now it's like this fear is if I am so lucky that I will get to experience one of my worst fears.
Number nine is leaving the stove on and setting my house on fire. Like three weeks ago I was working and I had been making a soft boiled egg and a little sauce pot. I looked over -and like I shouldn't say this because if my boyfriend listen this will be like you're irresponsible you're burning our house down- like I'd removed the little saucepan. But I'd left the burner on. This little blue flame was just sitting there and I was like Oh my God. And so. Every time I left the house I've been like oh I left the burner on again and my dog is a charred skeleton in her crate right now.
Number 10 is that in like two generations all of humanity will be living underground and like eating pellets and thinking like this right now is the peak.
I'm Jia Tolentino and these are 10 things that scare me.
I don't even know if fish have blood. I don't, I literally don't know anything. Do fish have blood? Do you know?