Funny thing happens when you’re at the eave and discover that you’re afraid of heights: You get stuck. Deer in the headlights, man at the altar, pick your cliche.
By Laura Lorenzo, Guest Op-Ed
I’m afraid of heights. I didn’t discover this until we moved to Georgia. In Florida there are no heights, so it wasn’t an issue. Even their houses are pretty low to the ground.
The great thing about phobias is that you’re not suddenly gifted with the knowledge that you have one. You discover it at a most inopportune moment, such as when climbing past the gutter on the roof. We had leaks, and, for some reason, my presence was required for confirmation.
Funny thing happens when you’re at the eave and discover that you’re afraid of heights: You get stuck. Deer in the headlights, man at the altar, pick your cliche. You also discover that your spouse could have defused hostage-situations in a different life, but that’s another story. So I’m stuck, and as I look around, I see things differently. Like out-of-focus. Like when you’re driving and it’s hot and you see that mirage on the road ahead. Maybe they only have those in Florida. But things aren’t quite focused, including my ability to move forward or back or turn loose of the gutter. The closest thing to a thought that I can recall was wondering if he’d have to call the fire department to get me down. I’m imagining a cherry-picker coming up over the deck, though that may have been before we had one. That was before we had a deck or a kid or a new roof, but I digress.
So he talks me down. Not much to say about that, since I remember so little, except that I’m always amazed at how calm and patient he can be in such situations. He didn’t learn it from me, that’s for certain. I take more of a Butterfly McQueen approach to these things, and a slap won’t do me any good. The thing there is that it’s very difficult for me to shift gears in a high-stress situation. I need time to think. On the other hand, I can have three different conversations with three totally different moods at the same time with the same person. If Spouse and I are discussing something, I don’t dare bring up something totally different, because he can’t process the shift, or he doesn’t acknowledge it or..something. You just wait for him to downshift and talk about it later. But then I need him to tell me to go to the hospital when my stepfather is sick, so it balances. Long story, that one.
Fear of heights would seem to be somehow related to a fear of escalators, at least when you’re at the top of one. Having a stroller and a two-year-old is a wonderful bonus. Escalators only exist in malls, far as I can tell, so we were obviously on the top floor of one. I suddenly realize that I can’t negotiate this, and really, how the hell do you put a stroller on an escalator? Certainly not with a child in it. I think it was the sudden convergence that gave me the fear, since I don’t recall having it before, and have not since. In any case, it’s amazing what strange men will do for you in a mall, even when there’s a toddler and an old lady involved. I’m sure that being freaked out and practically in tears had nothing to do with it. He took the stroller, she took the baby, and I took my extremely embarrassed ass down those steps. Very carefully.
So you are probably wondering, what this has to do with politics? Well it seems that from the Senate, the White House seemed like an easy job. Once Obama got there it he got stuck, Deer in the Headlights, Man at the Alter kind of thing. His fear is cutting the budget, sequestration if you will. Seems like he got himself to the top of this mountain, but on the top there is a cliff.
The President could humble himself, call for Congressional help, allow them to take a portion of the load. He than could walk down those steps to safety.
Seems everyone benefits when one faces their fear.