So it's Saturday, which means I'm divulging some sort of secret for your amusement, and who am I kidding, also to kind of bribe you into reading.
It's a little embarrassing, but we cannot move on from things about which we are too afraid to talk, right?
Just between you and me, I am terrified of people on bicycles.
It's true. When I see them flying toward me with abandon it's like they know and they try to get as close to me as possible so I can actually feel their wind. And it's even worse when they come up from behind because it happens so fast...one moment I'm walking along, minding my own business and enjoying the beautiful day, and the next there's someone whizzing past me, startling me out of my skin. Chris laughs at me when that happens because I usually emit a rather embarrassing squeal of surprise, then recoil in fear. He doesn't laugh when I see them coming and try to squeeze between him and the rail/wall/fence to place him between myself and the cyclist - then he just gets annoyed, like I choose to be this way. Let me be clear, I do not enjoy fearing for my safety when someone's out just trying to enjoy the day. I get that it's a little weird, but what can I do?
Now it's fine when a person is walking their bike near me; they're going slowly. And children on tricycles, that's okay, too. (I'm practically in love with parked bicycles.) It's the fast riders, the ones who whiz through crowds and yell at people in their way, that I can't deal with. And kids on bikes are even worse, because they're less experienced, naturally, and more reckless.
It's kind of like the time we found a shrew in our house. I love animals and we even tend to catch bugs we find indoors and set them free outside, but when it's scurrying, I'm screaming. I was sorting laundry in the front hall of our house (because the washer and dryer are located in the front hall bathroom) and when I grabbed a handful of reds to move, something small and dark scurried out from the pile and under a table. I reacted appropriately. When Chris came running in from the living room, he said it sounded like I was being stabbed and asked what was going on. I explained and we set to trying to figure out what this tiny intruder was.
Anything that scurries scares the crap out of me because I don't know what it is or where it's going. Like when a ginormous spider runs AT YOU, how do you not scream?! It's like it's going to kill you.
But once this little guy was cornered, he stayed still and we were able to investigate. Let me tell you, he was the cutest little mousey looking thing, just with a long nose, heaving all terrified in the corner. At that point I could have held him with no problem, so we wished him well and gently ushered him out the front door (which means we opened the door and blocked all other routes until he was out).
So maybe there's a connection between bicyclists and things that scurry. When someone on a bike is barreling toward me, I'm suddenly panic-struck and don't know which way to go, so I generally move as far away as possible, which sometimes means huddling into the bushes. I know it's sad, but I'm that scared they'll hit me. I must ask for credit, however, for not screaming when said bike is closing in on me because I could, I really could. Usually, however, I'm able to stifle the scream into what Chris sees as a dramatic gasp and scared humming until the danger passes. It's difficult to hide when I'm with someone who doesn't know about this fear.
The only incident I can recall that might have contributed to this phobia happened my first year of college. I was walking to class and some guy on a bike was coming toward me on the sidewalk, and after doing a quick little which-way-you-gonna-go dance, we crashed into each other. It was embarrassing and scary. So maybe that's it? I'm just not sure why it's stuck around for so long.
So that's my secret for today. If you know me in real life, I would appreciate it if you didn't attack me on your bicycle, because at this point, that would just be mean.