Yes, I'm afraid of taxis.
I came across a post on Tumblr asking people to list three of their irrational fears. I thought that was a good question, so I answered it, and I wanted to explain one of my answers here. Taxicabs. More specifically, the thought of riding in one, but seeing them gives me the jibblies too.
The reason behind this is just plain silly. It made a little sense when I was a child, but now it’s nothing more than irrational.
Irrational, by the way, means without reason. So an irrational fear is something that scares you despite there being no logic behind it, there’s simply no reason to be afraid of it.
When I was a kid, I had an uncle whose presence spooked me. I don’t recall him actually doing anything scary, I just didn’t like being around him, and the fact that the rest of the family didn’t like him either sure didn’t help how I felt. My mom once told me the story of how he’d bought an old taxi and illegally ran his own taxi service for a while. He was driving people around and charging them, but he wasn’t actually with a taxi company, so he was keeping all the money himself. For some reason, this scared the hell out of me and I was always worried that someday I’d call for a taxi and end up with him as a driver.
I don’t know if I was just afraid that he was a criminal. All I know for sure is the idea of him being my driver scared me, and the fear has never left. What officially makes this an irrational fear is his death. He’d been estranged from the family, but years ago we received a phonecall letting us know he’d died. I don’t know from what, he’d always had health problems so I’m just assuming that had to do with it.
So, he’s dead, and yet I’m still afraid of taxis. I’m still afraid I’ll end up with him as a driver, even though that’s physically impossible now. Admitting it doesn’t even make me feel as silly as it should, it just creeps me out to write about it.
While writing this, I thought of another irrational fear. Baboons. I’m terrified of baboons. Just looking for a good photo was freaking me out and of course I’ve gone and posted a photo of four of them staring at me. I almost posted a photo of a mandrill because they don’t scare me as badly, but I found out mandrills aren’t actually baboons, just related.
My fear of baboons is probably much more ridiculous than my fear of taxicabs. I’m afraid of baboons because of a dream I had as a young child.
In my dream, the local news stations were reporting a baboon outbreak. Apparently every baboon had escaped every local zoo, and there were a whole lot of ‘em. As we were listening, I began to hear strange noises. In actuality, the roof of this house is shingled, but in the dream it was covered with corrugated fiberglass, like what you’d put over a patio. I could see the silhouettes of a few baboons sitting on the semi-opaque roof, and that’s what was causing the strange noises. My parents decided we’d better leave the house in case we might not be safe inside.
We got in the car and started driving, and realized there were baboons absolutely everywhere. A few in every yard, at least one on each roof, and a bunch just wandering around. All ages and types, which is why I’ve always thought a mandrill was a baboon, there were some in my dream too. They were all calmly sitting or walking or munching on somebody’s garden, they weren’t fighting each other or trying to break into the houses or even so much as snarling at us if we made eye contact. But I was a child, so I was scared.
The dream wasn’t very long, but I can remember it as clear as if I’d dreamt it last night. I woke up scared and ready to fight in case baboons really did invade my neighborhood, I was worried they’d try to take my stuff so I started writing “Don’t touch” on everything I could actually write on without getting in trouble, including on my windowsills.
What makes this even funnier is I was so young I hadn’t learned how to proofread yet and kept forgetting to use an apostrophe, so I misspelled it quite a few times. I have a bookshelf that’s been there all this time, and unless it’s worn off, there’s a message to the baboons that says “dot toch.”
I probably had that dream around 25 years ago and still to this day, my fear of baboons is as strong as it was back then. I do feel silly admitting it since they hadn’t even attacked me in the dream. But if there’s ever a group of baboons running amok in Los Angeles, they’d better keep their furry little mitts off my stuff.