Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fear of Going Down

Anyone who know me figures out before long that I cannot get on an escalator going down without some drama.

I wasn't always this way.  Years ago, one of my husbands had very little patience with hinky women.  My ex-husband, (let's call him Bob -  heck, his name was Bob come to think of it), was very annoyed when I turned out to be afraid of horses, afraid of heights and terrified of cauliflower. 

We went to dinner one night at the Carnelian Room, a gorgeous high rise restaurant with an amazing view in San Francisco.    We were joined by a number of Bob's executive type colleagues and cohorts.  I was having a marvelous time after a number of cocktails and some wine.  Because my husband and the other people at the gathering were all quite a bit older than I, booze was needed to help with my social anxiety.  I remember I was seated next to the president of the Burlington Northern Railroad and I told him I liked their pantyhose.

It got late and we got ready to leave.  We walked over to the escalator and I came to screeching halt.

"I cannot get on that thing!" I said in a total panic.  My sensitive husband told me not to be ridiculous and grabbed my arm to pull me on the metal moving stairs.  I screamed bloody murder. 

People came rushing out to see what was wrong.  By this time, I was getting hysterical.  I begged the waiter to let me use the stairs or the elevator, on to just let me sleep there.  (Actually, I  may have asked him to let me live there.)

My husband Bob was burning with anger and humiliation.  Here I was a cute young trophy wife and I was behaving like a bat shit crazy woman.  When he couldn't get me on the escalator even with brute force, the Carnelian Room manager said he could have the escalator turned off so I could walk down the stairs.  At last!  Something I could do.

There is still something about a descending escalator that scares me, but I sometimes can do it.  I have been known to ask total strangers if I could hold their hand or their arm until I get on.  If there is an elevator or stairs I can use, I'll use them.

I still am afraid of horses and heights and I don't eat cauliflower or even look at it.  And most importantly, I have learned to never ever again marry anyone named Bob.

45 comments:

  1. Even if I have closed-toe shoes on, I can't ride escalators without curling my toes.  The damn thing might decide to eat them and I'm kind of partial to my toes.

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  2. My wife has about the same fear of elevators, sometimes she will ride but most times she takes the stairs. A fear is a fear no matter how others view it.

    No as for Bob's I suppose they are not a good fit for you either :)

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  3. Linda, I'm still a bit leery of escalators, too. I've gotten better over the years, but still....My MAIN problem with them is the Height part of it all. I cannot look over the railing at the floor below, or nearby escalators going up or down! My first husband wasn't the kindest guy in the world either, so I can relate to yours being an ass! But my present, for almost 30 years, and forever husband is very understanding about all of my quirks, of which there are many! Have a wonderful week....and go to the mall and spit on the escalators, and any guys named Bob! :D

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  4. Did you hear about the guy that spent two and-a-half hours on an escalator? Yeah, it broke down and stopped and he had to wait for the maintenance guys to fix it.

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  5. What was his name?  He does not sound like a Bob to me!

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  6.  You'd never hear me call Robert Redford "Bob".  Know what I mean?  I'm better now.  I am also very afraid of heights.  I can't stand on a chair to change a light bulb.  And I can't walk to the floor to ceiling window in the high rise to look at the view!  Oddly, I'm okay on airplanes.  I just pretend I'm on the bus.  Your comment make me laugh!  You are a very funny girl!  You should have a blog!

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  7.  Jimmy, I don't like elevators either.  I tried calling that husband Robert, but he stayed a Bob whatever I called him.

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  8.  Shawntel, now that is what I'm talking about.  And that hungry steel mouth might not just quit after taking your toes.  I'm glad I'm not the only one!

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  9.  Darling Lady, I can go "up" the escalator just fine.  It's the coming down part that escapes me.  I took my children to Disneyland when they were young.  We took in the "Swiss Family Robinson Tree House" adventure.  I started up just fine.  I climbed and climbed and then I made a fatal mistake, I looked down.  I couldn't move.  They had to get all the people after me off and send people up to get me down because I froze clinging to the side of the path crying.  My children pretended not to know me.

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  10. My mother was terrified of escalators, either going up or down, and wouldn't get on one.  It made for interesting times since I was similarly afraid of elevators.  Isn't the Carnelian Room the restaurant atop the Bank of America building?  I ate there several years ago, and believe me you wouldn't want to ride in that elevator.  It was so old and it wobbled!  I was petrified but didn't realize there was another way up or down.

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  11.  Jeanie, the place used to be the "Banker's Club" until evening.  It was a grand old place but it closed several years ago now.  At the time I went, it would have been about 1977 or so.

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  12. "Here I was a cute young trophy wife and I was behaving like a bat shit crazy woman"

    I don't think you would have acted that way if your ex husband was more understanding and supportive. You were having a REAL panic attack over a REAL fear. And he should have been more sympathetic. IMHO.
     

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  13.  Mel, I had my first real full fledged panic attack right then right there.  He was a jerk and I'm glad I divorced his bobby ass.

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  14.  Mostly, I liked my ex-husbands.  Not this one.

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  15.  I just read that it closed in 2009.  It was probably close to ten years ago that I ate dinner there.  I don't remember the main course, but I'll never forget the pipping hot, delicious chocolate souffle I had for dessert.  It was made to to order.

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  16. I can understand your fear.  Falling down an escalator would be supremely unpleasant.  He was an insensitive lout and not worthy of you.  I remember my last airport experience and having to maneuver my rolling carry-on up and down the many escalators required to get from point A to point B and then back again,  You develop fast feet.

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  17.  I had dinner there a number of times and what I remember is that the waiters all were black and wore white gloves.  I had lunch there more often.  The Banker's Club was where a lot of business lunches were done.  (I wasn't a member, but I got taken there regularly.)

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  18.  Going up an escalator never bothered me.  And I'm fine on the people mover things.  It's just the height thing that probably does me in.  I have improved a lot, but I still get "stuck" sometimes and have to search for an alternate.

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  19. The last line killed me! HA! 

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  20. Thanks Katherine!  I liked it too!

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  21. Perhaps you should have pushed Bob down the escalator and taken care of two problems at once. No only would it have saved you a divorce, but you may have found the experience cathartic enough to cure your fear.  Oh, and my favorite mental image of an escalator is in the Movie "Elf" when Will Ferrell cannot figure out how the escalator works. 

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  22. You know what freaks me out? Having to walk down an unmoving escalator! My mind can't handle it and it weirds me out!

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  23. I fear it is going to start at any moment!

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  24. Never marry anyone named Bob -I will try to remember that piece of advice!
    Phobias are strong; can seriously put us right into a panic attack. I felt that way about a mountain we were supposed to hike out west...I just couldn't do it.

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  25. For you it might be "never marry anyone named Charlie".  I really have issues with heights.  You step on the escalator and if it's steep, it looks like you're going over the edge.  I don't like hiking unless it's on concrete.

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  26. TheEquestrianVagabondNovember 14, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    that was evil of him. you know i will help allay your fears of horses any time you come visit, but I'm with you on the heights thing, and I have a (bad) thing with celery. I have marked all BOBs off my list, and thank you for the warning.

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  27.  Horses are so magnificent.  I love them, and it's hellish to be so fearful of riding them.  I can pet them okay, I just can't get on them.  When I visit you, we won't have celery or cauliflower and we'll leave the Bob's outside.  Jose can come in any old time though.

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  28. What an awful experience.  I can understand why Bob became an ex.  You are so unique - I never heard of a cauliflower phobia. 

    I've been away, but so glad to be reading your posts again.

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  29. Why couldn't you have used the elevator?  When I was a kid I was afraid I'd get sucked in between the moving escalator and flattened.  Bob was an ass. 

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  30. So not cool. There is always an elevator or stair to use. Tessa can't use escalators obviously. Then again, her ex-husband uses a wheelchair, and he'll take an esclator any day-- one of those athletic wheel-chair basketball guys.

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  31.  Jayne, I really don't think an elevator was available for some reason that particular night.  But I totally agree that Bob was an ass!

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  32.  I have seen so many athletic wheelchair guys!  They amaze me.  They are in fantastic shape and they aren't held back by the chair at all.  My hesitation is all in my head and I am ashamed of being so "hinky".

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  33. wow...!   Glad he's part of your past.  
    My old boss was afraid of escalators, and never got on it by herself.  She always had to have someone so she could hold hands.  

    I'm terrified of small spaces and clutter.  I don't have much at home.  I can't stand too  many things.  I like to organize stuff.  

    I honestly believe, this is the reason why I tend to lose my breath when I'm stuck in traffic.  I avoid traffic jams with a passion.  I prefer waiting an hour till the traffic dies, so leaving early to places, even if I have to wait in the car.  Everytime, I've been stuck in traffic, I end up gasping for air, and get so hot and sweaty.  

    I am also terrified of snakes!  A boy once threw a dead snake over my shoulders and I fainted.  When I woke up, everyone was around me, and I had peed myself!  :-(

    A phobia is an irrational fear, but a fear, nonetheless, and it should be taken very seriously.  

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  34.  Lluvia!  I am just like your old boss!  I'm not crazy about clutter or small spaces either and I don't like crowded elevators.  Snakes, I'm okay with, but I used to be terrified of spiders.  I couldn't even walk in the room with a spider.  (Now, I gently capture them and take them out to the garden.)  Phobias are a pain in the neck!

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  35. Actually, I don't think this sounds crazy at all.  There is something weird about stepping down onto a object that is moving away.  I never give going up another thought but you have to step just right on the down escalator or oops - it is gone. 
    I can help you with the horse fear though.  Mine will give you sugar for a chunk of apple or pear.  You would adore him.

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  36. I completely understand about down escalators. I hate them. I tend to always choose the stairs. To one of our local metro stations, you have to go down an escalator for an hour...or maybe it's 5 minutes. Either way it's way too long. 

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  37.  It really bothers me, Thoughtsy.  I do it if I have to, but as I said, I need to clutch someone just long enough to step on to it.

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  38. Linda, I do have a blog, you silly girl! www.beckypovich.blogspot.com. 
    AND I'm also perfectly fine on airplanes. I think it's because I'm all closed in....and it's like being on a bus! AND walking up to a window on a high rise???? No frickin' way!!!

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  39. Hi Linda! I replied back to your comment about my comment, in the Reply area ...but I don't see it. Maybe I replied in the wrong place? Anyway, I guess you got it because you stopped by my blog! Thanks!

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  40. I love going up and down escalators, caulifowers and looking down from great heights (so oong as my feet are planted firmly on the ground though)...i certainly didnt get your genes..lol.

    Hilarious story though. Glad you are rid of him. He prolly wouldnt have loved you blogging too. 

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  41.  Ginger I'm glad you take after your Dad in that regard.  Bob was a hot mess.  I'm glad he's not here.

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