I’m guessing everybody has at least one phobia. I have several: fear of heights (acrophobia), fear of falling or being pushed from high places (pushacrophobia – I made that up), fear of snakes (properly ophidiophobia, but let’s make it simple and call it snakeophobia), and claustrophobia. If you ever want to get rid of me, stuff me in a box with a snake and set me on the edge of a cliff. The cliff may not even be necessary.

I also have FOMO, known as Fear of Missing Out. This causes sufferers to stay up too late or postpone trips to the bathroom, because we might miss some fascinating conversation or exciting event. This fear is based on reality. In fact I have often lived through EOMO (Experience of Missing Out), usually when I have dinner guests. The main course has been eaten, conversation is lagging, and it’s time to clear plates and serve dessert. The second I leave the dining room, the conversation springs back to life, punctuated by laughter and hooting. I can’t follow the conversation because the coffee maker is hissing and I’m opening and closing drawers, running water, and possibly dropping silverware on the floor. My FOMO has materialized, and I’m missing the most interesting repartee of the meal. When I return with dessert, the moment will have vanished.

My husband has in the past suffered from acartohygieiophobia, the fear of running out of toilet paper. This is real, I promise you. I googled it, giggling to myself, and was astounded to find it’s an actual phobia. For awhile my husband, who loves to do the grocery shopping, would come home week after week with gigantic packages of toilet paper because, he explained, it was on sale, and because it’s something we’ll always need. Fine, I said, but where are we going to store it? Leave it to me, he said, and proceeded to unwrap the gigantic packages and stuff individual rolls of TP into nooks and crannies in every closet. One sheet-changing day I opened the linen closet and was pummeled by a soft avalanche of toilet paper. Enough, I said. The store is only one mile away, if we ever run out. That seemed to cure him of acartohygieiophobia, which was a relief because it’s really hard to spell.

I have a deep fear of running out of chocolate, which has no clinical name that I can find, so let’s call it nochocophobia. Chocolate pulls me in, like the moon’s gravity pulling on the oceans. What would happen if there were no tides? Bad things, I presume. So we must never run out of tides or chocolate. I’ve been known to keep chocolate stashes hidden in various locations around the house, for those times when I need a chocolate hit and I’m far from the kitchen, or, let’s be honest, when I’m trying to keep it hidden.

Interestingly, I found out a few years ago that it’s possible to hide my stash in plain sight. We were recipients of a bag of 20 full size KitKat bars in a pantry shower when we moved to a new town and a new church. The entire family was aware of the KitKats, and they all knew they were in a kitchen drawer. But nobody ever asked for one, and everyone forgot they existed. Except me. I remembered. Over the next few months, while cooking dinner, and while the rest of the family was in the family room, watching TV or doing homework (the two rooms are actually one room), I’d periodically remove a KitKat from the drawer and eat the whole thing, literally in plain view, if anyone had bothered to pay attention. It’s true that I never offered one to anybody, but they were free to go get one any time. Eventually the KitKats were no more.

One day, months later, one of the kids said, hey, where’s that bag of KitKats we got for the pantry shower? Confession time, followed by shock and recriminations. I maintain it was their own responsibility to remember where the KitKats were, and help themselves. Apparently their fear of missing out wasn’t strong enough to make them inquire as to the whereabouts of the KitKats earlier in the game. This isn’t my fault. Where chocolate is concerned, it’s every woman for herself.

My greatest fear is not nochocophobia, pushacrophobia, FOMO, claustrophobia, acrophobia, or even snakeophobia. My greatest fear is abibliophobia, the fear of running out of books. There’s nothing so horrifying to me as being stuck on a plane, in a waiting room, or at home, with nothing to read, or at least nothing interesting to read. I feel best when surrounded by filled bookshelves, piles of magazines on the coffee table, and a healthy stack of library books waiting to be read. When faced with nothing to read, I get twitchy and anxious. The world of books is going on without me, and I can’t stand it. And by the way, this phobia leads to book greed. I cannot go to the library and check out just one book. I have trouble limiting it to ten, and often stagger out with more than that. I need a cushion, so when I finish one I can immediately go on to the next. I simply love a bounty of books. They are my good and treasured friends.

As I attempt to bring this to a close, I’m haunted by how-do-I-end-this-blogophobia. In writing, beginnings and endings are tricky. You can tank the whole thing with a boring beginning or a bad ending. I’ll just say I hope you’ve found this discussion of my phobias enlightening. If you’re feeling phobic after reading, I recommend chocolate therapy, which will get you through just about anything.

2 thoughts on “FUN WITH PHOBIAS

  1. This. Is. Hysterical. I identify with Nochocophobia. When periodically ridding the panty of sweets/carbs in a fit of guilt about our diet, I can never quite dispose of the last of the chocolate. In whatever form. You just never know when you will need a satisfying hit. Linda – never quit writing your blog!

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