Here’s A Fun Little Trip Through My Psyche.

phobia: an extreme or irrational fear or aversion to something.

We have all known someone, or are ourselves, afflicted with a phobia. These are not rational fears that many people have, or even vague concerns about our own safety or well being. These are not things or experiences we strongly dislike, but crippling fears that are very specific.

The more common phobias are ones we have all heard of and can understand on some level, even if we don’t share the same fears. The fear of heights for example. Fear of flying, spiders, water, crowds, or confined spaces, all fairly common and at least semi-relatable. There are others that fall in the same category,

And then there are the weird ones. These are the fears we don’t talk about and do our best to hide until we inevitably are put into a situation where we come face to face with our fears, and panic sets in, causing no little amount of embarrassment in the process. As you’ve probably already figured out, I have one of those.

For as long as I can remember I have suffered from globophobia. No, it is not the fear of spherical objects or three dimensional world maps. I am deathly afraid of balloons. Even as a middle aged man, I can’t be near them without freaking the heck out. Especially if there’s a child playing with a balloon. Forget it, I’m out. I’m gonna need the rest of the day off, a puppy to snuggle, a good, stiff drink, and a few hours to lie on the floor in the fetal position with the sounds of waterfalls and relaxing new age music to have any chance of making it through to the next day. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but only a slight one.

“Why, Dave? Are you afraid the balloon is going to pop?”

No, don’t be ridiculous. I friggin’ know it’s going to pop, that’s a foregone conclusion. I just don’t know when. I don’t know how loud it’s going to be, and I don’t know how near I will be to said popping. This will, and I am not joking, send me into a panic in which I will have to get as far away from the baloony threat as quickly as possible. I will start to hyperventilate, break out into a sweat, and lose focus on anything but leaving the area immediately.

I once had a panic attack inside a Red Robin restaurant because that particular location had balloons tied to every single table and the employees were giving them out to families with kids. I got through the meal (barely), but not without my wife using every calm down tactic she could think of that didn’t call attention to what was going on. It took me years to go eat at another location after being thoroughly convinced that every location wasn’t decorated the same way and I had most likely experienced a “one-off” situation. Honestly, I am still leery of the whole chain.

Many would argue that it is not the balloons themselves that frighten me, but the fear of sudden loud noises. This is only partially true, but let’s explore that theory. As a youngster, loud noises did frighten me quite a bit because I was very sensitive to them, and I won’t argue that there may be a connection. I was never a fan of fireworks as a kid, as I didn’t like all the loud booms accompanying the pretty sparkles. Dogs of the world, I feel your pain.

However, I pretty much grew out of that. Fireworks became bearable when I realized how controlled the productions are, and I then figured out that I could usually see the flash before I heard the boom, so I learned to anticipate it. Now I just view fireworks as a yearly annoyance when I am trying to sleep in order to go into work the next day and my lunatic neighbors are shooting them off well past midnight from June 29th through July 11th. I don’t mind a professional production on the 4th of July itself, but outside of that I have absolutely no interest.

Pyrotechnics used to bother me as well. In the 1980’s and into the early/mid 90’s, most of the major rock concerts I went to used pyro to one degree or another. Inside an arena, the explosions could be louder than the music! I would be in the strange place of loving the music and dreading the pyro. After a while though, I kind of got the feel for where the big bangs would come during shows-which songs had the most explosive potential, plus the natural beginning, ending, and one in the middle pattern most shows would follow. It was kind of fun to try to predict those moments, and once most big concerts moved outdoors the big booms weren’t quite as loud and became a more enjoyable part of the show for me.

So you see it’s not loud noises that bother me. Engine or mechanical noises don’t bother me, and loud music is certainly no issue, because the noises are controlled. It’s the unpredictable and almost inevitable pop of the balloon that gets to me.

That’s not all though. I dislike balloons in general. I don’t find them pretty as far as decorations go, they just look weird to me. I can’t begin to tell you how many birthday parties and other shindigs have been super uncomfortable for me due to the presence of these brightly colored air bubbles. Also, they are fairly useless as a toy-about 5 bounces and that’s all for that game. Then there are water balloons. Just a tool for a sneaky prank-and I detest pranks. As for helium balloons…they just float there…and taunt me…waiting for their moment to strike. I just don’t like balloons man, their whole vibe weirds me out.

Interestingly enough, I don’t have this problem with giant inflatables. You know, bounce houses, slides, and the like. They do not feel like a threat. Nor do I have an issue with hot air balloons, I think they’re neat. I dunno. Go figure.

So, what’s the point? Why am I sharing this with you guys? Am I that hard up for a topic this week?

Well, yeah, but there’s more to it than that. I created MonDAVES to be a space where people can come for a little light hearted silliness, and possibly escape their day to day for a while. I also wanted to use it as a form of communication with the reader. If decide to share a little bit of insight into what makes me “me”, then maybe other people will relate on some level and we can all feel a little closer together as people, and maybe realize that we’re not all alone in this world. I want people to feel good after reading. Even if that feeling comes from thinking, “Man, I have my issues, but at least I’m not THAT guy!” Whatever works.

Thanks for indulging me once again. See you next week for more MonDAVES!

P.S. I also hate feet, but that’s not a phobia so much as a preference. They are smelly and gross and I don’t want to see, smell, or touch yours. Or your kids’. Yuck. No reason for that bit of info, just wanted you to know.

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