Saturday, April 20, 2013

Nothing to Fear

My life can sometimes resemble a patchwork quilt of various colorful phobias. Odd little fears that reign strong in my peripheral thoughts - popping up time and again to shock me with an icy finger of terror in response to the unlikeliest of things. I admit freely that my long list of idiosyncrasies includes a great many of these triggers. Some truly irrational (like my consistent fear of the entire airplane just disappearing out from under us at 10,000 feet) and others, like the one I discovered recently, that border much closer to circumstances that might occur, albeit rarely and in most cases only in moments of blind stupidity.

I was cleaning up the kitchen countertops. Mopping crumbs towards the sink and flinging them headlong into the oblivion also known as the garbage disposal. I finished my quick sweep and snapped a final towelful of odds and ends into the stainless sink, rinsing it down the drain to join the other hapless dross that now faced the sharp edges below. I switched the water to flow down the drain, and reached for the switch that would throw the blades into ravenous life.

And there it was, that sickly green silverfish of a feeling - the cringing flutter of fear's black wings. Bleak and bottomless. Contracting tissues - causing everything to be clutched and bittersick.

I could feel the clenching of my chest, the protective screeching of my nerve endings: "Please don't chop off your fingers today!" they seemed to be screaming. I could see it happening - almost feel it. I shuddered, and forced myself to look at my hands, safely tucked in each others' grasp. More than sheltered from the fury below. Nowhere near harm. But I held them tighter together still, needing more of a reminder.

The wave broke, and I pushed out a heavy sigh, flicking the switch to kill the beast. The motor flew in one last violent push and died. The ruckus lost its legs, became only the white noise of rushing water - and with a single motion, I killed that, too. Color crept back to my heart, squeezing out the sharp black and white contrasts of fear.

It was but a moment. Like 10 seconds, tops. But the feeling crept onward, intentional. And relief was sweet when its honey-slow path finally slipped out of my system and back into the ether. Seeking new purchase somewhere else, however ridiculously earned.

And all because I turned on the garbage disposal.

This phenomenon intrigues me. That I could feel such intense, real emotion that had no claims to a grasp on reality fed the logical conclusion that we cannot (in spite of what you may have been told) always trust our guts. Sometimes they're damn liars. I had no hand in harm's way, but I felt it cut to bits regardless.

Maybe somewhere in the Multiverse another version of me got caught there, attempting to free up a rattling annoyance - no idea that the machine was set to malfunction any second. A power surge. A moment of intense and regrettable idiocy. Maybe I felt her pain for a moment. Maybe we shared a wavelength - a thought. Nirvana. A hand chopped to pieces.

Or I could just be a bit nutty. Much more likely, all things considered.

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