We’ve already shared a few things that make our hearts thump with joy. But with Halloween right around the corner, we thought it’d be the perfect time to reveal what else gets our hearts pounding—with fear. Read on to learn the Chicks’ personal versions of the Bogeyman—if you dare!
Maybe I should talk about what I am NOT afraid of. Tough one. When I moved here to New Hampshire, I checked the state list of poisonous snakes. I was greatly relieved to find there was only one: the lowly—and endangered—timber rattler. (Really. They are trying to bring them back.) I have all the other garden-variety fears. Flying. Check. Scary movies. Check. Losing a loved one. Check. Various health scenarios. Grizzly bears and assorted psychos lurking outside our tent on those camping trips my husband loves. Check, check, check. You won’t find me skydiving or doing anything that requires me to sign a waiver (I did go whitewater rafting once—woohoo!—and somehow lived to tell about it). I’m always the person who offers to hold everyone’s jackets while they’re having a thrill-packed ride on the roller coaster. So what doesn’t scare me? Well, the dark. (I grew up in deepest, darkest Connecticut.) Clowns. (I’ve never understood that one.) And, after my years in New York City, I’m fine with crowds, heights, and strangers. Bonus: If you need a cockroach (or the more delicately monikered palmetto bug) cracked, I’m your gal. Guess I don’t need that psych degree to explain why I write cozy mysteries. No guts, no gory—and justice for all.
I am terrified of a lot of things. In fact, I’m what some might describe as “a giant effing coward.” It may be genetic. My uncle once said that our family crest should be a fierce warrior…and our family running away from him. When my husband snuck me through the gate below the Hollywood sign so he could propose with the romantic lights of Los Angeles glistening below us, I made him race through it because I was terrified we’d be arrested for trespassing. But the thing that scares me the most—which can literally incapacitate me—is heights. I traveled by myself to San Francisco when I was nineteen, and climbed to the top of Coit Tower. Paralyzed by fear, I had to be escorted back down by a ranger. If I’m forced to ride a glass elevator, I either close my eyes or cling to the door. I can’t set foot on an outside apartment terrace. My last college dorm at Tulane was built like a motel where each suite opened off an outdoor walkway, and I couldn’t go past the second floor—and only went to the second floor because I lived on it. I medicate and make the sign of the cross every time I get on an airplane. I downed so much Xanax and wine on a flight to Australia that I thought I’d have to check into rehab when I got off the plane.
Saying I’m afraid of heights is really a misnomer. What I’m really scared of is falling. I can climb a mountain and admire an expansive view, as long as I’m nowhere near the edge. I can travel on the Pacific Coast Highway—but only heading north, where you’re hugging the inside of the road. Maybe when I’m closer to meeting my maker, I’ll age out of this fear. But as long as I’m above ground, I prefer to stay ground level.
Being a single female writer in my 30s, I, of course, have your standard fears. Failure! Spiders! Cellulite! Gray hair! Not having kids! Having kids! But, I also have one really random fear: elevators with their doors open. To be clear, I’m not afraid of all elevators. I am afraid of elevators that are just loitering with their doors open. If I get to the elevator bank and the door is closed? No problem. If the elevator is in the lobby with the door open? I’m about 99.999999% sure that it’s a trap!!! I will stand there with no shame in my game, just waiting for the elevator door to close. And then I will push the button so the elevator dings and doors open again. Then and only then will I get on the elevator and continue on my merry little way without a single care in the world—knowing that I’d once again survived another day in my eternal battle against the big, bad elevator.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to read these 20 useful tips for elevator-phobes and then send them to Ellen.
I love being scared. Maybe it’s because my birthday is six days before Halloween, so the concepts of celebration and spookiness are strongly associated in my mind. When it comes to goblins and ghoulies and things that go bump in the night, I say bring ’em on! In fact, I’ve always wanted a ghost of my very own (although I probably really only want a one-time visit; a serious haunting would become tiresome after a while). But the one thing that I find most unnerving is being by myself in the country at night. My imagination is just waaaaay too vivid and every sound I hear has me on high alert. The last time I stayed at my friend’s cabin in the wine country, I was just SURE a raccoon (at least I hoped it was just a raccoon) had somehow gotten into my bedroom. I ran to turn on the lights, ready to confront the intruder. It was a space heater.
Okay, readers, now it’s your turn! What scares you most? Leave us a comment so we can all be creeped out together!