At this very moment my son â€śBâ€ť and I are on our way to Nashville to visit his brother. Â I am typing on my iPad in an effort to get my mind off the fear and trepidation I feel asÂ we approach I-40 which will take us from Jackson, Tenn. into the Music City, if weâ€™re lucky.
Iâ€™m convinced this is the most treacherous roadway in the Southeast. It reminds me of the freewheeling, speed-freaking Autobahn in Germany where the speed limit is nonexistent.Â
My little Rav4 gets sandwiched between two 18-wheelers, and Iâ€™m down hereÂ looking up at their gargantuan tires and imagining how it would feel to get caught underneath 15,000 tons of metal and rubber
I usually drive to Jackson, then â€śBâ€ť must take the wheel since I tend to drive interstates at a snailâ€™s pace with both eyes squeezed shut.
Then the fun begins. I take a death grip on safety bar, plant my feet on the dashboard and donâ€™t let go for 120 miles. Every time he passes a truck or changes lanes I gulp, certain we are going to die.
My son gets exasperated and vows never to drive me anywhere ever again unless he can get a prescription for Xanax. Iâ€™m not sure if he means for me or for him.
He doesnâ€™t know the half of it. I have developed other inexplicable phobias. I am afraid to walk across a bridge because I imagine someone rushing up behind me to push me over the side. Since I am a walker and there are several overpasses on my route, I dash across them with the speed of an Olympic sprinter.
Curiously, Iâ€™m also afraid of driving under overpasses. I heard that our region is overdue for an earthquake, and I bet itâ€™s going to happen the very split second I drive underneath all that concrete.
And airplanes? Forget about it. My fear of flying has ratcheted up each year since 9/11. Several of my girlfriends want to take a trip to New York City to see some broadway plays this summer. Iâ€™ll have to leave three days earlier, on the train.
I also have a ridiculous fear of escalators, specifically going down them. My job in New Orleans required that I use one almost every day. Never could I overcome that vision of getting my pantsÂ leg caught, tripping and getting my hair sucked into the claws at the bottom.
I suffer from a few debilitating household phobias as well, especially opening those cans of refrigerated biscuitsÂ where you peel off the paper and it pops open with an explosion. I imagine gases building up inside the blowing off the back of my house.
I also have a primal reaction when forced to come into close proximity to a banana. And the sound of styrofoam pieces rubbing together drives me insane.
Thereâ€™s a famous Eleanor Roosevelt quote that goes like this: â€śYou must do the things you think you cannot do.â€ť Maybe one day soon Iâ€™ll go to an overpass, sit on a styrofoam cooler and hold a banana. If I live through the horror, I can do anything.
Emily Jones is a retired journalist who edits a website for bouncing baby boomers at http://www.deludeddiva.com.
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