We all have our little phobias. I’m pleased to say I’ve overcome most of mine. When I say overcome, that’s not to say I’m now entirely comfortable with each little phobia. Only that none of them have me all in a sweat or cowering behind a sofa any more. I can handle them. Aerophobia, haemophobia, thanatophobia, belonephobia and ergophobia have all afflicted me at some stage in my life. But I can now board a flight without my stomach tying itself in knots, I can see blood without fainting, I have accepted that all good things must come to an end and I now appreciate that in order to get anywhere in life, a days work is unavoidable.
There are two phobias which remain. Electrophobia is perhaps the biggest because it is something I have to deal with on a daily basis. I can now change a light bulb, although I used to refuse to even consider such a thing. I’d have rather sat in complete darkness. But still, I loathe static and will automatically touch many metal surfaces with a sleeve, just in case. But electrophobia doesn’t bring me out in a sweat. So from that perspective, the biggie is acrophobia.
I don’t like heights. Although how do I define a height? The highest I’ve been, bar air travel, was atop a 5000+ metre mountain. That’s not a problem. I guess it’s a sheer drop I don’t like. Did you know that humans aren’t born with a fear of heights? Babies can crawl to the edge of an abyss and not bat an eyelid. Apparently, or so I have read, a fear of heights kicks in upon learning to walk. I can pin point the moment I discovered my fear. At the top of the Lookout Tower at Cheddar Gorge in Somerset. I was a wee lad and had raced to the top with my brother. Then I looked down and panicked. I descended, ever so slowly, on my backside one step at a time. Ironic. Right now, the Lookout Tower is probably the least scary place in Somerset.
Heights really do bring me to the verge of panic. Yet I am drawn to high points. It makes no sense. My most recent encounter with acrophobia was atop the Angel of Independence, and this isn’t the first post I’ve ever written confessing my weakness. I can’t even watch a video of a daredevil doing something risky at a great height. Well, I say I can’t watch it. I force myself too, even though I become more and more uncomfortable with every passing second. There’s a lot of videos on YouTube of people doing nutty climbs up man made or natural objects. But I believe I’ve found the pinnacle of nuttiness. Still under construction, but already the second highest building in the world, I give you the latest skyscraper in Shanghai and the most twisted high five in history.