To celebrate the upcoming release of my third novel, Driving in Neutral—a love story about claustrophobia—I am running the 75 Days of Phobia series. Author Sami Lee shares a phobia with Maxell, the hero of Driving in Neutral, but claustrophobia is just one terror for Sami.
Hello, my name is Sami and I am a freak.
Well, I certainly used to think so but after having followed Sandra’s 75 days of Phobias series, I’m starting to feel a little less freakish (thanks to all the other phobia confessing freaks for this, hehe). I have LOTS of fears, I mean lots, and many I would go so far as to call phobias.
Arachnophobia, of course (I say of course because those people who are not utterly horrified and grossed out by spiders horrify and gross me out. What’s wrong with them? I have a phobia of those people, but there appears to be no name for that)
Acrophobia, which is the fear of heights. Here’s a picture of me trying to overcome it… sort of. I also bungy jumped once, because I was assured facing my fear would cure it. Let me tell you people, it doesn’t. DON’T BOTHER. I bungy jumped over 20 years go. This picture was taken 2 years ago. There’s been no improvement. NONE.
Barophobia, which is acrophobia’s friendly accompaniment. Coming to think of it, it is the gravity I fear the most, because it’s the sheer force of it that can topple an insignificant human off the top of a building even if there’s a massive chain wire fence to stop them going off. At least that’s what I believe. I get near the edge of a building (5 metres away is near the edge, right?), and I just know gravity is going to push me off. And then I get to experience that bungy magic all over again, this time without a lifeboat at the bottom. Eek.
Claustrophobia, because, you know. Buried alive (Taphophobia) tops the list of the worst ways to die. Would even rather be burned at the stake than buried alive. Can’t watch that movie, Buried, because my love of Ryan Reynolds cannot eclipse the fear and disgust that washes over me when I even see someone else stuck in a tight space. For a movie. When it’s not real. Still. Freaks. Me. Out.
All those are pretty standard and do not necessarily label me a freak. They are all fairly normal fears, actually, and dare I say completely RATIONAL (stop saying it’s irrational to be afraid of Huntsmen because they’re not poisonous, okay? They are GROTESQUE. Isn’t that enough?). But there is one strange little fear I have that is not so normal.
They disgust me. The smell of them, so musty and distinct. The aroma of thousands of dead trees. The newsprint. I cannot BEAR to get it on my hands. Once it’s on, it doesn’t come off without soap, but the smell stays with you. Yuck. And those PEOPLE. The ones who come to your house and toss that free newspaper onto your driveway, sometimes 3 times a week. No sign will stop them because a newspaper is not considered junk mail. It’s news so we must know it, apparently. It’s news, so I must trudge out to my driveway and grimace as I pick up the offending item in order to pop it in the recycling (often with my sleeve tucked over my hand so I don’t have to touch the paper directly. I’m also not above rubber gloving for this task).
Chloephobia. Not a fear of girls named Chloe. It’s much more rational than that.
You can find out more about Sami and her books (her lovely lovely e books which don’t leave print on your hands) at www.samilee.com. Her latest release is Irrepressible Jasmine, and features a heroine who’s afraid of falling in love, also called Philophobia.