To celebrate the September 1st release of my romantic comedy, Driving in Neutral —a love story about claustrophobia—(now available for pre-order) I’m running the 75 Days of Phobia series. A Huge THANKS to everyone who’s been following along and everyone who’s joined in to talk about spiders, clowns, and cursed antique jewellery. As Olivia, the heroine in Driving in Neutral says to Maxwell the claustrophobe, “Everyone’s afraid of something.” The thing about today’s guest, author Amy Andrews, is that when she’s not writing award-winning novels she’s a nurse and she’d not afraid to use the f-word.
Well, here’s the thing. I don’t really have a phobia about anything…
Ugly, little-big, hairy fuckers that have me running around yelling exterminate, exterminate like some demented Dalek. I like ‘em just fine – outside. Outside I am all like peace and love there incy-wincy and do eat another mosquito for me but if they’re trespassing in my house then they’re going to suffer the consequences. Inside my four walls there is a zero tolerance arachnid policy.
Look….I will go up into high buildings – mostly 5 star hotels because the likelihood of falling out of one of those suckers – particularly whist lounging in my king-sized bed eating room service, is fairly miniscule. I have been up Centrepoint Tower in Sydney and The Empire State Building. But believe me I stuck like glue to the inside wall and only looked out – not down! Do not ask me to traverse a high mountain, climb a bridge or stand on a glass shelf overlooking a gaping hole in the earth. I like my feet planted firmly on the ground!
Yep. Tick that off too. It’s not that I’m paranoid that the plane is going to crash it’s just the realisation that I’m stuck in one shit-tonne tube of steel whilst defying the laws of gravity and that if such a tube should meet the earth for whatever reason (now including being shot down!!!) at several thousand kilometres an hour – well, that’s it, isn’t it? All over red rover. I don’t really think it’s going to happen but I do catastrophise as the plane’s taking off. If hubby is beside me I give him my last verbal will and testament should he somehow miraculously survive and I don’t. It usually, at that stage, includes grandiose plans for him finding love again with a gorgeous supermodel type that I’ve never uttered before and will revoke once we’re on the ground but hey, the plane is crashing and let’s face it, we’re both toast so I can afford to be magnanimous, right? When that’s done I actually feel better. I feel like should anything happen, I have things in order.
Of course, the second the plane hits an air pocket I am a screaming mess.
Other terror inducing things include – scary movies, bats, rats/mice, snakes (or generally any animal that can kill me just because), really loud thunder cracks, being stuck in a lift, crazy drivers, my bank manager….
You get the drift.
But these are all because I have a healthy respect for my life, right? I figure that whilst there are about 100 everyday things that can kill me in the blink of an eye that I can’t control – I’m going to try and control the things I can!
Now, let me just state for the record…..I have little patience with men who have needle phobias. Because it always seems to be men, right? Particularly the macho ones. I just don’t get how you can throw yourself out of a perfectly decent – non crashing! – plane or climb Mt Everest and then carry on like a pork chop at a little tiny scratch that’s over in seconds!
Boo freaking hoo! I mean really – push a ten pound baby out of your vagina (twice) if you want to talk about real pain.
Oh yeah, btw…….can you tell I’m also a nurse?
But as my son states, it’s not the fear of the pain it’s the fear of the needle itself.
Last time I had to take my son for a (very necessary) blood test he was fifteen. I have NEVER been so embarrassed in my life. Forty minutes of threatening, cajoling, pleading and then finally sitting on top of him whilst profusely apologising to the poor woman trying to take the blood left me utterly mortified!
But it left him pale, shaken, sweating profusely and also on the verge of tears. Which is when I really understood that it was real and not some bunged on teenage thing – the only people I’d ever seen that sweaty, pale and clammy were heart attack victims.
I reckon if he’d been on a monitor his heart rate would have been 200.
It was the first time I’d seen a true phobia in front of me. I’d seen grown men with their legs in traction after smashing up their femurs on a motorbike say they were frightened of needles and screwing up their faces and gasping as if I’d injected the bloody thing right into their wounds but I’d never seen anyone that badly affected before.
So, once I’d gotten over being pissed at him (sooo not mother of the year material) I had to apologise for my uncharitable thoughts. And to all people really with genuine phobia’s because they’re clearly terrible things to be afflicted with.
Two good things have come out of it however. I know he’ll never ever get a tattoo or become an IV drug user.
I just hope he doesn’t become an insulin dependent diabetic or he’s screwed!
Amy is an award-winning, best-selling Aussie author who has written forty + contemporary romances in both the traditional and digital markets. She has written for Harlequin Mills & Boon, Entangled, Harper Collins, Momentum and Escape. To date she’s sold over a million books and been translated into thirteen different languages including manga. She loves her kids, her husband, her dogs, cowboys, men in tool belts (I hear you on this one, AA), cowboys in tool belts and happily ever afters. Also good books, fab food, great wine and frequent travel – preferably all four together. She lives on acreage on the outskirts of Brisbane with a gorgeous mountain view but secretly wishes it was the hillsides of Tuscany.
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