OK, in an effort to lighten the mood around here, I'm posting an open thread on nonpolitical phobias. What do you irrationally fear? I know I should not admit this in a public forum, but I have a near paralyzing fear of whales. There. I've admitted it. Whales scare the bejesus out of me.
I think I always knew this, but never having encountered a whale, it didn't become clear until I watched the Japanese film Dr. Akagi. There's a scene where a man and woman row out into the sea in a tiny row boat and there's this amazing aerial shot of a massive whale swimming right below them, dwarfing them. I nearly had a seizure, and even now, just visualizing it makes me shiver.
My friends find this highly amusing. After all, whales get really good press overall. There's "Free Willy" and "Save the Whales" and Shamu...but I'm telling you, it's just not right. Nothing should be that much larger than I am.
There's a scene in 20000 Leagues Beneath the Sea where Captain Nemo opens the portal covering in his submarine and you can look out into the deep abyss. As a kid watching that film, I nearly freaked out during that scene. I used to think it was the wide open space I was afraid of, but now I believe it was simply a sense that "that's enough room for a whale to come along in."
This will prevent me from ever taking up scuba diving seriously. Even now when snorkeling, as I love to do, if the distance between the ocean floor and the top of the water becomes, er...well, whale size, I have to turn back. I just know that if I stay, merrily enjoying the adorable (i.e., smaller than me) marine life around me, I'll bump into this wall that I swore wasn't there a moment ago, and just as I being to explore the barnacles and bumps on its surface, the really large one will open to reveal a giant eyeball as big as my whole head and I will die right there, on the spot. I can't explain it.
Feel free to scoff...but only if you offer your own phobias first.