There aren’t many things that scare me… well, beyond the obvious stuff – scary thugs in dark alleys with sharp knives, my kids falling into open manholes on the street (yes, I know it’s unlikely, but it’s a recurring day-mare I have).
But wasps do. An irrational fear I’ve had since childhood when my brother was badly stung by a colony of hornets in a stupid prank which involved the nest falling onto his head (aided by a long stick, wielded by a ‘friend’).
I’ve got better with this fear since having children. A parent can’t afford to panic in front of a child, so I guess wasps don’t really scare me anymore – though if you were to put me in a locked room with a million of them you’d see Terror.
The other thing that scares me, often, is Irrationality itself.
Several years ago at the seaside I overheard a conversation between two women – an old dear in a wheelchair and her carer. The older woman was bemoaning the summer, the younger woman, presumably on an hourly rate and just going through the motions, was mainly uninterested.
“It’s the wasps, you see. I can’t stand the wasps,” the older woman said with some exasperation when she realised the younger one wasn’t showing any empathy.
“Oh well, you can’t live in a bubble,” the nurse replied.
I wrote this bit of the conversation down. Don’t know why really but it satisfied me, in a dark way. The kids thought it amusing that I’d recorded it and in the intervening years it’s become a bit of a catch-phrase for anything we don’t like or don’t want to do. “You can’t live in a bubble” we’ll say.
But I wrote it down in case I ever found a home for it, and then I never did. My eldest brought it up again this morning – asked me if I’d used it yet – and I figured what the hell, maybe I can get a blog out of it and then it’s done. It’s put to bed, I can score a line through it in my notepad and it won’t stare out at me any more.
I haven’t blogged for months. Not here or on my personal page. Again it’s a measure of irrationality that I go through phases with these things – not phases of motivation, but phases of Belief. There’s so much crap out here, on the internet, do I really want to add to that? There’s so much I’d like to say here, on the internet, why should I not have a voice?
Over and over these arguments with myself go.
I fear Irrationality so much I conjure it up by default. I swing widely between these two opinions and in the process have a horrible habit of scoring lines through stuff… there’s never really any middle ground for me.
I looked at someone’s blog yesterday. It’s the guy who’s now heading up Authonomy, Scott Pack, who’s a dynamic finger-on-the-pulse kind of person when it comes to the internet age. His blog (which is worth checking out, btw: MeAndMyBigMouth) is an amazing mix of business and personal – he even gives out his home address, which sent chills down my spine (Luddite that I am).
And it left me wondering about my fears over the last few months about blogging, Twittering, Facebook status updates, forum posts and the like – all that crap we shove out there that reveals so much about us, and that lingers as testimony to Who We Might Be. I wondered whether my fears were Irrational – here, after all, is a professional guy willing to stick a whole load of personal information and mouthy opinion out there… his blog reads as normal and natural. It doesn’t seem a vanity, it doesn’t seem Too Much Information.
But, still, I’ll argue with myself anew, I’m sure. And I’m really interested to hear other’s views on this issue.
Now we’re nearing the end of summer. It’s that time of year when the wasps become drunk on fermenting fruit – they become aggressive, dangerous, irrational. Here where I sit on my terrace is a wasps’ nest, formed inside an old railway sleeper which supports the fencing. They are literally right behind my chair – constantly in and out of the hole they gnawed some months ago.
I deliberately didn’t destroy their nest when I first saw and heard them building it. Though it’d be good for me to leave it there. Share my smoking spot with the creatures I fear most.
Can’t live in a bubble after all…