I am not claustrophobic like the characters in Driving in Neutral are. Nor am I afraid of bad reviews, thunder, or aprons as a few guests have been… However I DO have the the good sense to be slightly arachnophobic, but that is generally limited to the really big eight-legged suckers like huntsman, tarantulas, and Orb Weavers that spin webs that span five feet (meaning it’s big enough to ensnare five foot me), and of course redbacks, black widows, brown recluses, and funnel webs because, you know, the associated pain, necrosis, and DEATH.
Beyond that, I will admit to a particular phobia, one that pretty much seals my fate once the apocalypse comes, or zombies rise, or if Skynet becomes self-ware, or some plague, or whatever it is happens that turns life into one of those dystopian futures where everything is crumbled, people wear lots of greys and browns, and shampoo is a commodity to be traded or fought over like the Gasoline “Mad” Max Rockatansky and his leather clad buddies are so keen to have.
So what is it that scares me? Kids, I have full blown Castraphobia. I fear camping. Castra is the latin word for camp, as in what the Roman Legions used to do before a battle. I do not battle and I do not camp. Dress up a tent to look like that pretty VW Bus above and nope. Dress it up and call it “glamping” and nope. It’s still camping. Allow me to reiterate. I do not camp. Ever.
I am soft. I like it indoors. I like warm beds, and hot showers, and indoor plumbing in the next room, and a buffet breakfast with a bottomless cup of freshly brewed coffee.
Oh yes, I have camped. As a child, a teenage, and as a adult. I have experienced the horror of bugs, wind, animals trying to get in, my tent being washed away in a flash flood–while I was inside said tent, inside my sleeping bag. I have experienced the foul shit (literal and figurative) that impolite people neglected to cover with dirt. I have experienced a group of rancid smelling teenagers (myself included) who had not showered or been near anything resembling water for 5 days. I have experienced pit toilets, and no toilets, and the personal bag toilet you had to carry out of the nature reserve yourself. I’ve done the camp stove and campfire thing. I camped all over Europe, Canada, and the USA. And it was always the same horror. It was always the same HORROR. The camping horror led to a camping deeply-rooted-in-experience aversion, which led to Castraphobia.
The good thing is Castraphobia led to my love of 5 star Hotels — 4 star in a pinch — oh, hell, even the 1 star dump I stayed in in Florence and the mouldy, no-star, roach hotel in NYC was better than camping, even with the shitty, saggy mattress we took off the bed and put on the floor for back support since the box spring was busted.