One. Drowning. In particular, falling off a boat unnoticed in the dark and swimming until I expire.
Two. Water bugs.
Three. That I either break or lose a particular talismanic object for fear of what might happen.
Four. The house catching on fire. I have a dog. His name is Pinky. Although he's not pink at all anymore that I've had all my life. Fifty-seven years. And It is so far beyond the Velveteen Rabbit that so it's just he's falling apart. But he also seems to be the repository of many aspects of myself. I think that I will truly grieve and miss him if the house burned down. And I don't know that I would be able to interpret it as something other than a very bad omen.
Five. That the cats will escape into the street and drink antifreeze.
Six. Teaching someone to drive.
Seven. Being late. I had a teenage mother. She wasn't sixteen when she had me, but she was seventeen. She was a child who really didn't want to have a child and she was always catastrophically late to pick me up from anywhere. I really suffered on that count because I was pretty sure most of the time that she wasn't ever going to pick me up. So I don't know why I had this sort of ridiculous hope that it wasn't going to happen. But, you know, she was young and irresponsible and sort of a scary person to be with.
Eight. My own heartbeat. I had Graves’ disease that went untreated for a long time. I think another person might have gone to the doctor sooner rather than when I did, which was in an ambulance. But for my Christian science training, which has left me terminally confused about illness and inclined to deny being sick. Anyway, so I pushed it to the point that it turned into a crisis and ended up with a resting pulse of one-hundred-fifty-something. It's not very Christian and there's no science about it at all. It's pretty much, your soul and your body are separate, and your body actually does not exist. It's a figment of your imagination. I had tonsillitis all the time as a kid, and I thoroughly understood that my body being sick meant that I was wicked, so I also became one of those kids who was wildly phobic about throwing up, because it was sort of like announcing over the P.A. system, “Hey, I'm wicked.”
Nine. Subways that go under the river and elevators, both because I'm claustrophobic.
Ten. That a raccoon will get in the house in the night and kill the cats. Because of my claustrophobia I often leave the door open at night. The back door literally open. I didn't really understand that raccoons lived in New York City, but a raccoon moved into our house and moved into a suitcase that was under our bed. So I actually don't even know how long the raccoon lived there. After the guy came and managed to get the raccoon out from under the bed, people start telling us horror stories about raccoons in the city including, you know, the one in which somebody left the skylight open so the freshly painted corridors would dry and discovered in the morning on the outside of their bedroom door two savagely murdered cats. The people who we paid six hundred dollars to remove the raccoon from our house testified to all sorts of amazing and terrible raccoon feats, like the time that they removed a raccoon from somebody’s home not aware that it was a female raccoon with a nest of babies inside, and they took her to one of the outer boroughs. Far, far, away. And the raccoon made it back to the house and threw a stone through the window and went back in to get her children.
My name is Kathryn Harrison and these are 10 things that scare me.