One. Someone touching my foot with a broom while they sweep the floor.
Two. Being shown a YouTube clip.
Three. Rabies. I grew up in the country, and we had a lot of rabid raccoons around. And there is a story that that I was told one morning when I woke up when I was a little kid that a rabid flying squirrel had been poised over my sleeping form and about to bite me and the dog had kept it at bay and barked until my dad got there and trapped it. And people all over the place would, like, get out of their car and be attacked by a raccoon that would just bite their leg and not come off. So, I had a real terror of raccoons that went away a few years ago when I saw a raccoon parent ushering its babies out of a hole in a wall. It was so cute, and now I am not afraid of raccoons anymore.
Four. Not being able to stop.
Five. Having to explain my weird habits. I go to the Met once a week at the same time every week. I also go to the ocean once a week, and I eat the same things every day. And I think as a former very shy person I feel like I have to do whatever people want if I'm near them. So often, when I'm with people, I won't tell them my plans and I'll sneak out and they won't even notice. Part of it is I can't even explain to myself why I have these habits, so I can't explain them to others either. I think if I tried people wouldn't understand. Also, maybe they would want to come with me and the habits all involve being alone. If people question them, then I question them, and then I stop doing them, and then I think my world will fall apart.
Six. People walking at me as if I don't exist.
Seven. That the strangers who yell at me on the street are actually right. Today I was walking. It was a clear sidewalk. There was someone across the street and they yelled, “Look where you're going!” I talked to her. I was like, “Were you talking to me?” And she was, like, “Yeah.” I was, like, “Well that was extremely rude, and it ruins my day that you'd said that to me.” And she said, “Well people get grumpy when they're old.”
Eight. Small town nosiness. Like, I just went to Vermont for a couple of days and the people there were so nice. But there was this level of, like, how many questions you're allowed to ask a stranger on the street that is not familiar to me as a New Yorker. Like, people would just see me on the street and they would be, like, “Where you coming from? Did you take the train? What time are you leaving tomorrow?” And I think it it gets to my fear that if someone knows the details of my life they'll thwart what I'm trying to do. They'll say, “Oh you're taking the bus and not the train at 3:00 p.m.? You can't do that. You have to stay here with me and talk to me for five hours.” Or something.
Nine. Cheerful sadists. I think part of my terror of rules and and kind of hypocritical bureaucratic people kind of smiling while enforcing strict and not nice and meaningless rules is that it reminds me so much of the Holocaust. It's not the same as someone violent rushing into a room with an axe and killing everyone. It's like this smiling person in freshly ironed pants smilingly telling you to get in line, and you can ostensibly run away, but really you can't, and you have no choice and no one admits that your death and the death of everyone you know is going to be a tragedy. They say it's kind of a form of betterment of the society. It's just... it's so terrifying.
Ten. The train zooming away with my hat in it.
I'm Liana Finck and these are 10 things that scare me.