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Category Archives: Fear

When Imagination becomes Reality

I have this really unfortunate aspect to my imagination.  It’s the part that imagines catastrophe around every corner.  Maybe it’s an outgrowth of the part of my childhood when I imagined or was afraid of all of the worst things happening — the house burning down, intruders killing us all, you know, that kind of fun stuff.

As an adult, I still have a catastrophe-centered imagination at times.  Driving across a bridge in the Bay Area, I imagine the next big earthquake striking while I’m in the middle of the span.  Flying on an airplane, I imagine somebody with a rocket launcher on the ground just waiting to push the trigger and release their missile at the plane I’m on or for some mid-air calamity to strike.  Driving down the freeway, I imagine some driver headed the other way losing control and hurtling across the center divide.  Better yet, if it’s a semi that loses control.  When my kids were younger, and they played outside, I always saw them doing something and falling and hitting their heads on concrete.

One piece of creative thinking on my part has been with me consistently for years.  It’s the fear that I’ll be in the middle of a shooting spree or hostage situation.  I hate when my imagination becomes reality.  No, I wasn’t there and I hope I don’t know anybody who was.  It’s a tragedy for those who were there.  And, no my fear has become a reality.  It has that much more meaning.  Ugh.

This scenario, by the way, plays a role in one of my incomplete novels.  Terror in a Small Town culminates with a hostake situation at a … movie theater.

Overcoming Fear

In my post 100 Things About Me there is a theme that lurks not so quietly throughout the piece.  It is fear and how fear has ruled my life — both motivating me and holding me back.

It’s interesting that the people around me don’t know this about me.  I asked my mother last night if she knew just how fearful I was as a child.  I asked her if she knew how afraid I was to fall asleep at night because of the witch outside my window, the man laying under my bed ready to snatch my hand if I hung it over the side of my bed, of the ogre in the closet, of the snakes at the end of the bed, of the intruder who would break in and kill us all, of the fire that would leave our house in ashes.  She didn’t have a clue.  I guess I hid my fears well.

In recent years, I’ve started to overcome what fears I can.  I held a snake last year.  Not once, but twice. I dove headfirst into a pool for the first time a few years ago and manage to do it every now and then ever since.

When I was a kid we went to Fairy Tale Town and Funderland frequently.  Funderland is a little amusement park in Land Park in Sacramento.  Little kid rides.  I don’t know how old I was, but one day I went with my siblings on the roller coaster there.  Yes, it achieves a maximum speed of 8 miles per hour and has a massive 8 foot drop.  And, they had to stop it early so I could get off.  Since that day, I never went on another roller coaster and have stayed away from all of those midway rides that spin you around in circles and go sideways and upside down.  When I was twelve or thirteen and my family went to Great America in Santa Clara County, I spent the day riding the old-fashioned cars, while everybody else played loosely with their lives.  I was fine with that.  Nobody ever died on the cars.  Fear is a powerful thing.

I’ve been to Disneyland four times in my life.  Never been on any of the roller coasters there.  Oh sure, it’s because the line is too long.  Right.  Right?

This week was my fifth trip to the Happiest Place on Earth.  I did not want to go.  We have a visitor from Illinois.  I wanted to take her to Yosemite.  Or Santa Cruz.  Or Lake Tahoe.  We went to Disneyland instead.  We spent two days at Disneyland and one day at California Adventure.  I thought it was going to be horrible.  It’s June.  School is out.  There were going to be masses of people there, the lines would be horrible.

An odd thing happened on my way to misery.  It wasn’t so bad.  The longest line I had to wait in was 45 minutes.  We only used fast passes twice.  One for the new ride in Cars Land.  And, one for Splash Mountain.

Yes, that’s me in the tie-dye shirt, having an incredible time.  But, first a few introductions.  The first person is the oldest Princely Midget.  The second is our visitor, screaming in terror.  The third is the younger Princely Midget, pretending to sleep through the fall.  And, then there’s me.

This week I overcame another fear.  By the end of the three days, I had ridden Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones, Thunder Mountain, and the Matterhorn.  I lived to tell the tale and had a great time doing it.

No, I did not go on California Screamin’, although by the end of the third day, I was ready to do it.  Just didn’t get back to California Adventure.  And, no, I did not go on Tower of Terror.  I have to hold on to some fears, don’t I?  For instance, that night-time fear stays with me still.  Don’t know how to overcome that one.  There’s still a witch outside the window and a man under the bed.

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